Underage Action- 2009 Edition

Dobber Sports

2009-04-04

The 2009 IIHF World U18s are here, and the rosters set. Get a full country-by-country breakdown in today's Bugg Bytes, starting with Europe.

Czech Republic

Top 2009 Draft Eligibles, F

Andrej Nestrasil, LW
6'2, 194 lbs 2/22/1991
Statline: 66 GP, 22-35-57, 67 PIM (QMJHL)

Michal Hlinka, LW
6'3, 190 lbs 3/19/1991
Statline: 41 GP, 12-22-34, 38 PIM (QMJHL)

Ondrej Palat, C
5'10, 154 lbs 3/28/1991
Statline: 42 GP, 23-33-56, +38, 14 PIM

Jakub Jerabek, D
5'11, 181 lbs 5/12/1991
Statline: 38 GP, 8-19-27, +6, 28 PIM

Adam Polesak, D
6'1, 181 lbs 7/12/1991
Statline: 38 GP, 7-13-20, +36, 68 PIM

Marek Mazanec, G
6'3, 176 lbs 7/18/1991

Youngest player: David Musil, D (4/09/1993, or still 15!)
Tallest player: David Musil, D (190 cm, or 6'3!)
Shortest player: Petr Mrazek, G (5'6; a 1992 born)

Famous Family:
Musil is the son of former NHL defenseman and current Oilers scout Frantisek Musil. Musil Sr. will actually be coaching his son in the tournament.

Summary: Steadily on the decline in recent years thanks to the lack of a superstar, the Czech Republic enters the U18s with a decidedly more Canadian entry. Driven by necessity rather than strategy, big, physical forwards have taken the place of speed and skill. The result is a team that's managed to hang around in international play despite no elite talent.

Who to Watch:
Andrej Nestrasil isn't yet listed on the official roster, but he'll be there. After a successful rookie season in North America with Victoriaville, the 6'2, 194 lbs power winger continued producing into the Q playoffs with a team-leading three points in a four game sweep. Also playing on this side of the ocean was Michal Hlinka. Still a relative unknown to scouts despite playing in the Top Prospects Game, Hlinka has both excellent work ethic and skating ability for his size. A big tournament would push him into the top half of the second round.

On the back end, two highly mobile, extremely responsible defenders highlight the Czech class. Jakub Jerabek and Adam Polesak were a top-notch tandem at the 5 Nations tournament, totalling six points and a +6 rating in four games.

Last but not least, Goaltender Marek Mazanec is bound to draw attention thanks to his pro-ready frame. However, despite a great season on paper- 2.53 GAA and 0.926 Sv%- HC Plzen was the second-best defensive team in juniors. As it is, Mazanec struggled at the U18 Five Nations tournament earlier in the spring, allowing eight goals in just 2.6 games.

Finland

Top 2009 Draft Eligibles, F

Erik Haula, LW
5'11, 176 lbs 3/23/1991
Statline: 49 GP, 24-55-79, 42 PIM (USHS)

Joonas Nattinen, C
6'2, 181 lbs 1/3/1991
Statline: 30 GP, 9-29-38, +20, 6 PIM

Toni Rajala, RW
5'10, 163 lbs 3/29/1991
Statline: 31 GP, 14-17-31, +15, 18 PIM

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