Prospect Ramblings: Under 22 and a point per game at the World Championships: Is that good?

Michael Kosciesza

2021-06-09

This year’s World Championships was a memorable one if you’re a Canadian. It was certainly a memorable one if you are an Arizona Coyotes, Ottawa Senators, or Calgary Flames fan, with strong showings from Connor Garland, Darcy Keumper, Connor Brown, Nick Paul, and tournament MVP Andrew Mangiapane. There didn’t seem to be the same high level of NHL talent that we’ve seen in many years and that is largely due to the whole global pandemic thing that has made the past two seasons a grind for players. Only those looking for an opportunity to stack their resume and of course represent their country were the ones to go and seek Gold for their country.

This also means that youth was well represented at the tournament. We saw 15 of the top 20 scorers in the tournament under the age of 30 and 11 of the top 30 were 25 and under. As fantasy owners this is exciting. Sure, when the likes of John Tavares, Ryan O Reilly, or Nicklas Backstrom show up to the tournament after elimination it can be great, but we already know what those players are…star players. This year we saw 18-year-old Owen Power step up to the plate hoping to pad his resume for the first overall pick (I don’t know if he knew Buffalo would have the pick at the time). The soon-to-be drafted prospect got high praise from Gerard Gallant and it showed with him logging heavy minutes down the stretch for Canada and especially in the Gold medal game.

So, what does this all mean if a prospect shows out in this tournament, how seriously should we be taking their production in a tournament that doesn’t always feature all of the best players in the world? I’m glad you asked, I was thinking the same thing.

Of all the players 22 and under (a prospect), here is how they faired in the tournament:

Liam Kirk (21) 7GP 7G 2A 9P – The only player under 22 to be a point per game and he tied MVP Andrew Mangiapane for the tournament lead in goals which a much less NHL experienced supporting cast. Someone get this guy a contract.

Jason Robertson (21) 10GP 4G 5A 9P – Coming off a Calder nominee season, there isn’t much left to say about JRob that I haven’t already said, this guy is really good.

Anton Lundell (19) 10GP 4G 3A 7P – He was strong captaining Finland at the World Juniors and should be a fantastic number two to Alex Barkov in Florida soon.

Maxime Comtois (22) 10GP 4G 2A 6P – Already cementing a solid spot in Anaheim’s emerging top six, that includes future powerplay time with Jaime Drysdale, Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Sam Steel, and the third overall pick this year.

Nico Hischier (22) 8GP 2G 4A 6P – Aside from being named one of the youngest captains in NHL history, this season was one to forget which included two injuries and some time on the Covid list. He doesn’t have the same blazing speed but I’d expect a Nathan MacKinnon lite version of a breakout age 23 season.

There were more players under this criteria such as Dmitry Voronkov, Lucas Reichel, Philipp Kurashev, and Nils Lundqvist. They all had good showings for their age but I still have a lot left to say on the validity of a U22 player’s performance at this tournament translating to NHL success.

Thanks to Quanthockey.com, I was able to see the players who achieved a point-per-game in this tournament at each age from 18 to 22 with a minimum of three games played. I took a sample size of 1980 to modern-day, as this tournament was well served by youth prior to that point and it’s a bit more of a modern sample size. I then tracked each of those player’s NHL games played, point totals, and points per game. Let’s take a look.

Here are the leading scorer’s age 22:

Name (year) Position Games Goals Assists Points NHL Games NHL Points NHL P/PG
Vladimir Krutov (1983) F 10 8 7 15 61 34 0.5573770492
Vladimir Ruzicka (1983) F 10 4 11 15 233 167 0.7167381974
Ryan Getzlaf (2008) F 9 3 11 14 1101 982 0.8919164396
Mike Green (2008) D 9 4 8 12 880 501 0.5693181818
Igor Larianov (1983) F 9 5 7 12 921 644 0.6992399566
Alexander Ovechkin (2008) F 9 6 6 12 1197 1320 1.102756892
Rick Nash (2007) F 9 6 5 11 1060 805 0.7594339623
Theoron Fleury (1991) F 8 5 5 10 1084 1088 1.003690037
Dany Heatley (2003) F 9 7 3 10 869 791 0.9102416571
Alexander Radulov (2009) F 9 4 6 10 453 346 0.7637969095
Eric Staal (2007) F 9 5 5 10 1293 1034 0.7996906419
Linus Omark (2009) F 9 2 8 10 79 32 0.4050632911
Jan Hlavac (1999) F 10 5 5 10 436 224 0.5137614679
Igor Liba (1983) F 10 2 8 10 37 25 0.6756756757
Dieter Hegen (1985) F 10 5 5 10
Mikhail Grabovski (2006) F 7 5 4 9 534 296 0.5543071161
Leon Draisaitl (2018) F 7 2 7 9 478 506 1.058577406
Rudolfs Balcers (2019) F 8 1 9 9 92 34 0.3695652174
Alexei Yashin (1996) F 8 4 5 9 850 781 0.9188235294
Patrik Berglund (2011) F 9 8 2 9 717 326 0.4546722455
Hannu Jarvenpaa (1986) F 9 4 4 9 1