Tournament Preview: 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup

Jokke Nevalainen



The 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup starts on August 5th which is tomorrow! For many, this is the start of the scouting season because most of the world’s top prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft will be playing in this event.


The games will be played on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then the playoff games will be played on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately for North American fans, the games will be played very early because the tournament is played in Czech Republic and Slovakia. The early games start at 3:30 PM local time which means 9:30 AM Eastern Time, and the latter games start at 7:00 PM which means 1:00 PM Eastern Time. The only exception is Saturday when both games are played at 5:00 PM which means 11:00 AM Eastern Time. But for us Europeans, these times work perfectly!



The tournament includes teams from eight countries, and every country will be bringing their best players that are both eligible and available. Here’s a quick preview where I share the roster details and highlight some players to watch. Many of the prospects mentioned in this article can be found from our brand new 2020 NHL Draft Ranking of European prospects.


Team Finland


Finland will be playing without three of their top four prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft because center Anton Lundell and winger Veeti Miettinen are too old for the event (born late in 2001) whereas Kasper Simontaival is currently injured and unable to participate.


The fourth member of the group I was talking about is center Roni Hirvonen who is expected to be a top-six center for the Finns. He’s a potential first round pick next summer who will play in the Liiga this upcoming season after destroying the Finnish junior league last season. Hirvonen is undersized but he has a lot of offensive skill, goes hard into all situations and takes care of his defensive responsibilities.


A couple of projected top five picks for future drafts will also be playing for Finland. Aatu Räty