One of the best ways for casual hockey lovers to get acquainted with the top prospects of the NHL 2020 is to watch the IIHF World Youth Championship, which starts on December 26 from the Czech Republic.
Most of the time, only a handful of those with the privilege of participating in the aristocratic event are considered to be the elite of a particular class plan and their roles in the respective national groups vary from prominent to petty. This should not be the case this year, as 15 of our top 100 prospects for the upcoming draft – including nine of the top 15 – are not only expected to qualify for the two-week tournament, but should play key roles with their respective their teams.
WJC 2020: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, Where, When, Schedule
Here is a look at 20 project perspectives to keep track of with the plan position, medal impact and national pride on the line.
LW | Oceanic Rimouski (QMJHL) | 2020 project forecast: 1st overall
The consensus top pick for the upcoming NHL draft, Lafrenière combines speed, skill and power in an impressive overall package rarely seen in a teenage wing. At just 18, touching his passes is amazing – especially around the net – and he can also draw an expensive wrister with a quick release. This is his second round of world juniors, but the pressure is on him to deliver both from a team and individually.
2020 Top 125: Lafrenière, Byfield continue to lead the pack
C | Sudbury Wolves (OHL) | Forecasts for 2020: 2nd overall
Byfield is a powerful two-way center that can play the game of finesse as well as any front on the Canadian roster. Although Lafrenière follows in the middle rankings, the general feeling is that the 17-year-old is the lock to be the second choice and a strong showing for world juniors could boost his case for the first time overall. Like Lafrenière, Byfield can kill sentences and be threatening.
RHD | Erie Otters (OHL) | Forecasts for 2020: first first round
An explosive defensive back with a growing defense game, Drysdale is the youngest backfielder to play for the Canadian team in the world juniors from Aaron Ekblad in 2014. He can make beaches from coast to coast with ease and ease fruit from the high slot. Drysdale spends most of his shifts handling the ball inside the offensive end and can complete the power play if one of the older players can’t.
C / RW | Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) | Forecasts for 2020: Mid to late first round
A strong front with a hard shot that can play center or wing, Mercer is energetic from the start to the end of every turn, whilst holding an active stick and awaiting the direction of travel. It can be used in all situations, including hitting a penalty kill unit and taking – and winning – key people. It’s a bit of a stepping-stone with a strong pace and a straight-ahead speed above average, which, combined with the feel of high hockey and its track, enables it to control open ice with frequency.
Parker Ford (Providence College, USA)
LW | Providence College (HE) View for 2020: Round 4 to 6
An aggressive front with a non-stationary engine and excellent speed, Ford offers Team USA to prepare your face and rush the games to the neutral zone. One year of birth in 2000, he was transferred to each of the last two projects. However, Ford’s efforts to and from puk for a strong program like Providence, as well as his selection to Team USA’s WJC (camp), make him one of the most sought-after dual rivals for 2020. He probably won’t. mounted on either of the first two lines or used in power play, but you can bank with Ford helping PK and key defense zones situations. It makes a ton of smart decisions – most of which can go unnoticed to the ordinary observer.
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C / LW | Adler Mannheim (DEL) | View for 2020: Top-10 Pick
The focus of Germany’s resurgence on the international stage, Stützle is a dynamic offensive force that can explode in the open ice at one point. You can expect it to be on the ice for all critical situations and opposing coaches will have their work cut out for them in an effort to slow it down. Stützle is slippery and agile in tight spaces and you just can’t catch your eyes for a while.
LHD | Kolner Junghaie (DNL) | Forecasts for 2020: Round 3 to 5
Glotzl is the top blueliner in Germany in 2002 and Kölner Junghaie (DNL), a natural defensive back who can play on any side and looks to be a great success. It runs the point in the power game and anchors the top penalty kill unit for the club team, so expect the same for world juniors. He is a powerful motorcyclist who accelerates to top speed in just three or four steps, which is impressive for a defender and works hard to keep the aspect clean. With his head always in a swivel, Glotzl steps up in a timely manner while passing the pen tragically and without hesitation. It can be opened to land an excellent shot that is kept low in the net consistently. The knee-jerk reaction is to compare him to Moritz Seider in the first round of 2019, but you’ll soon see that Glotzl is impressive enough to deserve his own.
LW | Eisbaren Berlin (DEL) View for 2020: 2nd to 3rd rounds
Reichel, a balanced and versatile skater with excellent visioning and playmaking abilities, is a regular German Elite League who has performed well beyond the expectations of the Berlin Polar Bears. It has steady speed and lateral speed and good things happen once it reaches the open ice. Although Stützle has all the focus on the draft of Germany’s eligibility, it is important to identify Reichel’s production – 15 points in 24 games with very little power – and a 17.8 shooting rate is 10th in the league between 45 or more downloads. Berlin is also based on him in shootouts, so expect the same for world juniors.
LW | Real Bull Munich (DEL) Forecasts for 2020: 2nd to 4th rounds
A fast-paced double threat soldier who has spent the entire season with Munich at the German Elite League, Peterka is a cunning and skilled frontman who is a threat every time he regrets over the boards. He has an explosive first step and always seems to be on the open ice controlling the puck with confidence. Like most finesse players, Peterka can identify and create multiple scoring opportunities from the half wall or behind the net, and his easy-to-use tight ends keep the goalkeepers from close range and expose more clear than what does she want. Although Germany can put him in the same unit as Stützle and Reichel, Peterka is more than capable of bringing his own line.
The Czech Republic
C / RW | Litvidov (Extraliga) Forecasts for 2020: Round 1 to Round 3
One of the younger players to play in the Extraliga, Mysak was a regular for Litvinov, at a higher rate than recent Czech champions such as Martin Necas, Filip Zadina and Filip Chytil. It has an imposing presence on the ice and is a creative forward who can finish as he can create animations. There was a lot of pressure on Mysak to deliver to Ivan Hlinka, but his overall performance was more on the uninterrupted side. That could change in the world of juniors, where he will probably get on the wing on either of the first two lines except to look at both power play and kill time.
C / LW | Sault Ste. Marie Hearts (EAA) Forecasts for 2020: Round 1 to Round 3
A strong front with soft hands and a nice touch around the net, Pytlik has been one of the most versatile imports from the OHL. He has played wing at international events and occupies central ice for Soo, but will probably fall down the middle for the Czechs. Pytlik likes to shoot the wager and is able to create his own shot, but he is deceptively fast and agile enough to pass from a fake slapshot to a dash on the net while maintaining complete control of the puk. An absolute horse along the boards, he spends a lot of time killing the penalty shooter and uses his long range to block the strips.
RHD | Seattle Thunderbirds Point (WHL) Forecasts for 2020: Round 3 to 5
A tough defender in size, Kubicek is the top defenseman for the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds while being used at all times. His shot is a big part of his game, but he is able to handle the checker clearly and move from backhand to forehand in a controlled manner. Kubicek has a huge amount of atmosphere when he is under intense forecheck and is confident in his abilities to wait for the attacker before trapping him with a lead or bank pass. It tends to offer very little space when defending the zone entrances, but Kubicek has a fast shutter speed and a strong upper to put a rocket carrier into the corner.
G | SKA-Neva (VHL) View for 2020: Top-10
The top prospect for the draft has already captured Canada (2020 Ivan Hlinka) and the United States (2019 U-18 World Championships) before the age of 18 – so it makes sense that Russian coach Valeri Bragin has designate Askarov as the primary boot during the preliminary round of play. Aside from pausing points, it’s hard not to notice the netminder because it’s always on the move and loves to make every save seem easy. Its flame and its charismatic ice, however, will not guarantee Russia the gold medal that has escaped for almost a decade. Still, if there ever was a 17-year-old goalkeeper with the confidence and technical prowess to thwart the deadly attacks of two North American units in the same tournament, it’s Askarov.
RW | Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik (KHL) | Forecasts for 2020: 2nd to 4th rounds
A powerful wing with excellent balance and tower control, Groshev is rarely eligible for the first year having seen a significant amount of time in the KHL. He uses his thick skeleton and strong lower body to wear defenders during the cycle. Like Mercer for Canada, he distinguished himself in the Super Series U20 in November, being a key member of Russia’s silver medal winning entry to the 2019 Under-18 World Championship.
WJC 2020: Dustin Wolf | Dylan Cozens | Alexis Lafrenier
LW | Frolunda Indians (SHL) View for 2020: Top-10
A one-time reportage of delays, injuries and incompatible play, Raymond could use a boost of confidence that would bring a strong tournament. In terms of physical fitness, few players in this tournament will have the nostalgic levels and high level of competition that complements Elite’s game of puck. Although Raymond has not produced his models in the summer showcase or the recent U20 Four Nations Cup, he is an impact player who likes to take the pulse inside him and make world tournaments. He also makes a strong effort on the forecheck and is fast enough to prevent the defending defenders from pulling out of their pockets for a quick transition from one to the other.
RW | Djurgarden (SHL) View for 2020: Top-10
A pure scorer with a terror for a shot, Holtz has proven in many international leagues that he does not have to fill the stat sheet to be an effective player. It has a very high level of competition and gives it all from the beginning of every turn to the end. A forward who can play naturally, hit it in the corners and fight for bigger point defenders along the boards can also slip into the groove detected for a scarf marked for the top corner. Holtz will see a lot of power and should play with Raymond in Sweden’s second or third line
C | HIFK (SM-Liiga) | Forecasts for 2020: Midway through Round 1
Even though we were restored a few weeks ago, there is still the possibility that this heterogeneous two-way, with excellent targeting, will be healed in time to help Finland defend its gold medal. Lundell, who was on the team last year and even assisted in Kaapo Kakko’s “Golden Goal” against the Americans, is one of the smartest teenagers you’ll see in terms of position. He may end the rush and play in the end, but Lundell is at his best when pushing the feudal lords into the neutral zone and forcing the laps for quick resistance. It looks like Kakko from a stylistic point of view, but Lundell is more of a center of thought for people who rarely make dangerous decisions and can choke on an opposing power play.
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RW | Portland Winterhawks (WHL) Predictions for 2020: 5th to 7th Round
A strong wing with good size and good foresight, Knak has filled in nicely as a pioneer importer for the WHL Portland Winterhawks. It has above average speed but excellent balance and tight fourth versatility where defenders have to be wary of fast curls through the board game which can lead to an open path to the net. Knak adds value to the power play by keeping his feet moving and always looking to slip in soft spots for a quick shot from the pass. The 17-year-old distributes the popcorn safely and accurately and will take advantage of the cross-stitch ice if the opposing sticks are poorly positioned.
LW | Dukla Trencin (Slovakia) Predictions for 2020: Round 3 to 5
A cute wing that struggles in the open ice and does not bother his hands to get dirty in the front and in the leaves, Chromiak should be one of Slovakia’s prime targets when the coach is on the opposite end. He has excellent hands and uses his stick timely and efficiently and his active nature results in long possession for his team. His soft hands and quick feet make him a reliable choice to control poultry in tight spaces or with his back to the blue line. In the power game, Chromiak can control possession by half a wall, but it also has a hard shot and a well-timed timer. At every level he plays, the 17-year-old is at the center of his team’s offense and is often deferred to control his duties.
LHD | TPS Turku U20 (newer SM-Liiga) Forecasts for 2020: 2nd to 4th rounds
A fast-paced two-way defender who was one of the best amateur diggers in Finland’s competing Junior SM-Liiga, Knazko can customize his game to suit any situation in any zone. He uses his wheels or hard crossings to start breakouts, control the pace and flow of a possession, while complicating the point in power play or stepping in with timely reads to break games in the neutral zone. Knazko can be both sensitive and cerebral during chip and hunt recoveries, with a number of jukes and directional changes to create time and space. He loves to shoot the popcorn, but he does it for a purpose – to be on the look out for patent-paced shots of the carburetor coming onto the stick blade of a waiting teammate on the open side of the net.