Tournament Review: U18 Five Nations (February 2020)

Jokke Nevalainen

2020-02-10

Jake Sanderson, Stanislav Svozil, Emil Andrae, Marat Khusnutdinov and Roni Hirvonen were some of the stars of the U18 Five Nations tournament in Czech Republic.

 

Last week, under-18 teams from Finland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic and USA got together in Czech Republic to play a Five Nations tournament. European teams have these kind of tournaments a few times every year, and occasionally the USNTDP joins in on the fun like they did this time.

 

This tournament was a big reason why we published our February ranking of European prospects for the 2020 NHL Draft exactly a week ago – these tournaments are very interesting and fun to watch but at the end of the day, they are just a small portion of the season, so they shouldn’t cause drastic changes in rankings. Any player can get hot or cold for a span of five days. There is definitely value in watching these tournaments but it is important to understand how much recency bias they can cause. To avoid that, we always publish our ranking before a tournament like this instead of waiting until after it’s over.

 

Like always in a Five Nations tournament, each team plays against each other once, meaning every team plays four games in a span of five days for a total of ten hockey games in the tournament. I managed to watch nine of those ten games – the first two games overlapped. Here are my thoughts (and clips) on some of the most interesting prospects in that tournament.

 

Russia

 

Russia’s top line had Dmitri Zlodeyev (2020) at center and Prokhor Poltapov (2021) and Bogdan Trineyev (2020) at his wings. Zlodeyev and Trineyev are projected mid-round picks for the upcoming draft whereas Poltapov is an underager and a projected first round pick for the 2021 draft.

 

The top line stuck together on Russia’s top power play unit, and all three saw time on the penalty kill as well. All three finished the tournament with three points – Zlodeyev and Poltapov had two goals whereas Trineyev’s points were all assists. In the clip below, Zlodeyev fires a good one-timer on the power play and Poltapov is in front of the net to deflect it in.