A stock report on some of the top prospects from the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Kirill Kaprizov – Minnesota Wild – Stock: UP
Kaprizov, who has been tearing up the KHL as a 19-year old with 30 points in 37 games was terrific for Russia in a bronze-medal performance at the World Junior Championships. Minnesota’s 2015 fifth round selection is looking like even more of a steal after leading the tournament in goals (9) and finishing tied in points (12) with Sweden’s Alex Nylander. Kaprizov scored 40 percent of Russia’s goals across seven games and won the Best Forward Award for the tournament.
Thomas Chabot – Ottawa Senators – Stock: UP
I don’t think that there was a single prospect that impressed me more than Chabot did at this tournament. He was all everything for Team Canada, rarely leaving the ice and playing in all situations. In the medal round alone, Chabot played 71 minutes on a back-to-back, and did so at the highest of levels. He was named the Best Defenseman at the tournament and the Most Valuable Player, and could have been named Canada’s Player of the Game in all seven games they played. Next up for Chabot is a Memorial Cup run with a stacked Saint John team who added to their already solid roster while he was at the WJC.
Jordan Greenway – Minnesota Wild – Stock: UP
If the 2015 Entry Draft was re-drafted, it’s obvious at this point that Greenway would have gone higher then the 50th pick that Minnesota grabbed him with. He was an absolute monster for the Americans who affected the game in numerous ways scoring three goals and chipping in five assists en route to a gold medal. At 6’5” and 200 pounds, Greenway was physical throughout and went to the net constantly where he was a handful for opposing defensemen. He will return to Boston University where I would expect a dominant performance for the rest of the season coming off the confidence gained by his play at the WJC.
Jonas Siegenthaler – Washington Capitals – Stock: UP
Switzerland had quite a few players who impressed, and Siegenthaler was among the group. He posted six points in five contests, finishing fourth in defensemen scoring at the tournament despite playing two less games. He was another player who played a ton of minutes, averaging over 25 minutes per game, while rarely leaving the ice during penalty killing situations. Siegenthaler has a great combination of size and ability and showed that against some more talented opponents.
Denis Guryanov – Dallas Stars – Stock: UP
Guryanov was a handful in the medal round, almost single handedly beating the USA in the semi-finals with two goals and a successful shootout attempt. He helped the Russians secure the bronze medal with the game-winning goal in overtime against Sweden, finishing the tournament with four goals and three assists. After a thoroughly disappointing KHL season a year ago, it appears that Guryanov is rounding into his first round form for the Stars with 13 points in 25 American Hockey League games as a 19-year old.
Ilya Samsonov – Washington Capitals – Stock: UP
In many peoples eyes, Samsonov was the best goaltending prospect not playing in the NHL, and this tournament did nothing to disprove that thought. He faced 185 shots, the most of the tournament, yet only allowed 13 goals and recorded a .929 save percentage. He is having another terrific KHL season, with a 2.06 goals against average and a .936 save percentage. Washington has a wealth of riches with Samsonov and Braden Holtby in net for the foreseeable future. Since Holtby is signed at a reasonable rate through 2020, the Caps will have a decision to make whether to turn either into a tradeable asset down the road.
Nicolas Roy – Carolina Hurricanes – Stock: UP
Despite his shootout miss at the end of the gold medal game, Roy was one of Canada’s most consistent players throughout the tournament. He has the size and the skill to become a middle-six, second power play option at the NHL level due to his persistent forechecking ability and board work and his terrific shot that we saw on Canada’s third goal against the USA. Carolina drafted Roy in the fourth round based on his potential and pedigree as a former number one overall pick in the QMJHL, and he could be a steal at that spot for the Canes in the near future.
Mikhail Sergachev – Montreal Canadiens – Stock: NEUTRAL
Sergachev had a chance to open eyes at this tournament, and although he had his moments, was not as dominant as some would have hoped from the ninth overall pick from a year ago. The Montreal prospect had just one goal but did have a team-high 16 shots on goal among defensemen for Team Russia. Typically, the WJC is a 19-year old tournament so it’s not surprising that Sergachev wasn’t absolutely dominant, many would have liked to see a bit more from the talented blue liner. Expect him to be much more dominant a year from now, if at that time he is not already playing for the Canadiens.
Kieffer Bellows – New York Islanders – Stock: NEUTRAL
The 19th overall pick in 2016 was an integral part of Team USA’s gold-medal win over Canada, scoring twice in the victory. The young power forward was a little bit down the depth chart do to some of the older players above him, but was utilized on the power play where he is very dangerous when he has the opportunity to get his shot off. It is very encouraging that Bellows showed up in the biggest spot, in the biggest game of his life and was able to produce.
Pierre-Luc Dubois – Columbus Blue Jackets – Stock: DOWN
Another 18-year old at the WJC, but as the top drafted player going into the tournament a lot was expected from Dubois. Unlike some of the other 18-year olds at this tournament, Dubois was given every opportunity to produce from the jump, being shuttled around the teams top-nine and receiving plenty of power play time. He did finish with five assists in seven games, but just one came in the medal round and three came against the lesser competition of Slovakia and Latvia. He hasn’t been producing as much in the QMJHL as in past season, but could find his way to a better finish to the season following a CHL trade deadline move to Blainville-Boisbriand.
Olli Juolevi– Vancouver Canucks – Stock: DOWN
Juolevi carried many of the same sentiments as Dubois entering the tournament as a must-watch prospect for Finland. Unfortunately, the tournament that the Finnish would like to forget following their gold-medal winning performance a year ago falls somewhat on Juolevi as the teams captain. Juolevi was not immune to the stagnant offensive effort that plagued Finland throughout the tournament as he recorded just two assists. Hopefully this tournament is just a hiccup, and he will have a strong finish to the season in London.
Henrik Borgström – Florida Panthers – Stock: DOWN
Now to preface, Borgström has had a terrific freshman season for the University of Denver with 16 points in his first 14 games. Many felt he would be relied upon to provide some offensive punch for the defending champions. Instead, he played in six games with four of them coming against Latvia (2), Switzerland and Denmark, and produced zero points. Not what you are looking to see at the WJC from a 19-year old first round pick.
Give Kevin a follow at @kleblanchockey for Prospect talk and happenings.
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