Canada was golden at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
But plenty of 2020 NHL Draft eligibles participating left the tournament either having solidified, or heightened themselves to blue-chip status.
Here’s a look at the top five performances from draft eligible participants at the World Juniors.
Jamie Drysdale, D, Canada, 5-11, 175, 8-4-2002
Future Considerations Fall Ranking: 8
Drysdale, arguably the top defenseman available for the 2020 draft, didn’t disappoint on Canada’s blue line despite being the youngest member of the blue line. He started in a depth role and emerged as key fixture. The 17-year-old finished with three points (one goal, two assists) and a plus-3 rating in seven games.
“Drysdale started and ended the tournament at the bottom of Canada’s depth chart, but he just kept getting better and better as it went along,” Future Considerations scout Derek Neumeier said. “His best game by far was against Finland in the semifinals, logging 20:28 of ice time and scoring a beautiful goal. With his magnificent composure and skating on display, he more than solidified his place as the top defender in the 2020 draft class.”
Alexander Holtz, RW, Sweden, 6-0, 183, 23-1-2002
Future Considerations Fall Ranking: 6
Holtz, who helped Sweden to bronze, was one of his country’s top offensive weapons up front. His three goals were tied for third on Sweden, and his five points were tied for third among all Swedish forwards. In terms of draft eligible scoring, the 17-year-old ended tied for third with Germans Lukas Reichel and Tim Stutzle.
“I think Holtz showed that he is really dangerous in the offensive zone and always look for a way to put the puck behind the net,” Future Considerations scout Fredrik Haak said. “He has a fast and accurate shot and wants to be a game-winner every night on the ice”
Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Canada, 6-1, 196, 11-10-2001
Future Considerations Fall Ranking: 1
Lafreniere, the projected top pick in the 2020 draft, didn’t disappoint with his performance at the World Juniors. The 18-year-old was not only named one of Canada’s three best players and added a tournament all-star team nod, he was also named top forward at the World Juniors and the event’s most valuable player. Lafreniere, who helped Canada to gold, finished the tournament with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in just five games.
“Lafreniere has proven himself time and time again on the big stage, and the World Juniors was no exception to the rule,” Future Considerations scout Andy Lehoux said. “Lafreniere’s hockey IQ and playmaking abilities were on display every game as he controlled the play and created scoring chances all around the ice. If his offensive skills were undoubtable, he surprised many with his high compete level and intensity on the puck pursuit. He showcased a complete game and a tremendous potential as he led Canada to gold.”
John-Jason Peterka, LW, Germany, 5-10, 181, 1-14-2002
Future Considerations Fall Ranking: 79
Peterka had a standout showing at the World Juniors, finishing with six points (four goals, two assists) in seven games for Germany. In fact, among NHL Draft eligible players, Peterka finished second only to Lafreniere in points, and trailed only Lafreniere and teammate Tim Stutzle in points per game at 0.86.
“When Stützle was forced out of the German lineup because of an injury, Peterka picked up a lot of the slack, helping his fellow countrymen avoid relegation in their return to the top World Junior group,” Future Considerations scout Derek Neumeier said. “His great skating stride and work ethic helped make him dangerous both when flying out of his defensive zone in transition and when applying pressure on the forecheck.”
Tim Stutzle, LW, Germany, 6-1, 185, 15-1-2002
Future Considerations Fall Ranking: 5
Stutzle didn’t score in five games with Germany, but he certainly left an impression. The forward dazzled all tournament, showcasing his raw offensive abilities before finishing the tournament with five assists. His 1.00 points-per-game average was second only to Lafreniere among draft eligible skaters in the tournament.
“On one of the best German junior teams I’ve ever seen, Stutzle has been one of the most impactful players on the roster, and that at age 17,” Future Considerations head European scout Dennis Schellenberg said. “He has been showing up in almost every shift and was able to make the difference in many games. Using his tremendous speed and skill, he has made opposing top U20 players look like pylons. He played a similar game like in the German DEL, showed confidence with the puck and played with joy. Exciting and entertaining to watch.”
Also receiving consideration from Future Considerations staff was Jan Mysak (CZE), Lucas Raymond (SWE) and Lukas Reichel (GER).