The start of the 2019 World Junior Championship tournament is just nine days away. In case you’ve missed them, Cam Robinson and I have done projected lineups for the six most interesting teams playing there:
I updated the Finnish one on Saturday after it was announced that Jets’ prospect Kristian Vesalainen has declined invitation to the tournament. Team Finland’s head coach confirmed it was player’s decision to focus on his season in the KHL instead.
Another recent change was the concussion suffered by Blackhawks’ prospect Niklas Nordgren on Friday. Unless it was the mildest concussion ever, he is expected to miss the tournament because of it which is a real shame because there would have been prime opportunity available for him this year.
The absence of Vesalainen and Nordgren allows players like Anton Lundell (2020 draft), Jesse Ylönen (MON) and Aarne Talvitie (NJD) to play bigger roles on the team.
A week ago, we published our consensus Top 75 Fantasy Hockey Prospects ranking. One additional interesting thing from doing this was that it allowed me to see how the prospects from the 2018 NHL Draft are ranked about six months after they were drafted. Only 20 prospects received top 50 votes (and only 19 of them cracked the consensus top 75) but here’s how they were ranked by our writers:
One big takeaway from this is that Vitali Kravtsov has definitely passed Oliver Wahlstrom at this point which is not surprising considering how their seasons have gone. Even though Kravtsov was drafted ahead of Wahlstrom in the NHL Draft, most fantasy drafts had Wahlstrom going before Kravtsov, and sometimes there was even a big gap between the two.
It was also recently announced that Kravtsov will make the jump to North America after his KHL season is over, so there’s a legitimate chance he gets to play a few NHL games later this season. That kid is legit, and even more people will get to see it at the World Juniors where he’s expected to be the top player for Team Russia.
Rasmus Kupari is one player who could see his stock rising when more people get a good look at him at the World Juniors. He’s having an amazing season in the Finnish Liiga, and he should be the number one center for the Finns.
Another player who could see a bump is Grigori Denisenko, although he’s a real wild card. His talent level is unquestionable but the Russian head coach is not a big fan of his discipline issues, so it wouldn’t be shocking if he was dropped from the final roster.
Joel Farabee (PHI, 14th overall), Isac Lundeström (ANA, 23rd) and Dominik Bokk (STL, 25th) are three 2018 draftees who surprisingly didn’t get any top 50 votes. Lundeström, who started the season with the Ducks before being sent down to the AHL, should be the top forward for Team Sweden at the World Juniors, so his stock could be on the rise as well.
Bokk represented Germany at the Division I Group A part of the WJC last week, and although he was very good, I was expecting more from him there. The talent level at D1A is much lower compared to the top level WJC, so a guy like Bokk should have been absolutely dominant there. But I’m a big believer of the Bokkmeister, and a short tournament like that doesn’t really affect my perception of him. Just a few more viewings of him to add to my book on him.
I was watching Germany closely in that tournament because of defenseman Moritz Seider who is a potential first-rounder next summer. I also watched winger Justin Schütz, Florida’s sixth-round selection from last summer. They both finished the tournament with seven points in five games. Bokk had eight points. Just click on their names to learn more about them.
Speaking of Seider, just a reminder that you can find all our 2019 NHL Draft content from one place. All the player profiles and related articles are added there. We don’t have a ton of profiles just yet but we’re adding new ones every month leading up to the draft, so make sure you have this page bookmarked: https://dobberprospects.com/team/2019-nhl-draft/
And that’s all for now, thanks for reading. Feel free to add comments below. Remember to follow me on Twitter @JokkeNevalainen.
Images used on the main picture courtesy of chl.ca