Tournament Review: U20 Four Nations – November 2019 (Part 2)

by Jokke Nevalainen on November 12, 2019
  • Feature Story
  • Tournament Review: U20 Four Nations – November 2019 (Part 2)

 

In this article, I will go through the most interesting prospects from Team Sweden and Team Czech Republic who played at the U20 Four Nations tournament this past weekend. In case you missed the first part where I covered Team Finland and Team Russia, click here: https://dobberprospects.com/tournament-review-u20-four-nations-november-2019-part-1/

 

Sweden

 

Team Sweden won the tournament by winning all three games. They scored a total of 10 goals which led the tournament.

 

Nils Höglander, W, Vancouver Canucks – Höglander played on the second line and was the net-front guy on the second power play unit in each game. He wasn’t very noticeable in game one but was the best player on the ice in game two where he had two goals and a primary assist. Those three points were the only ones he got in the tournament, and they were good enough to tie the team lead. But that doesn’t mean he was only good in one game because I very much liked his third game as well. He had a few scoring chances in that game as well but just couldn’t bury it. Höglander showed great effort level in all three games and he flashed his elite hands a few times. He is a very fun player to watch because he’s always trying to do creative things with the puck – at times, even too much so. He plays with a lot of speed, and sometimes it’s difficult for his linemates to be on the same page with him. Höglander is a lock for the final WJC roster and should play a top-six role there.

 

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Samuel Fagemo, W, Los Angeles Kings – Fagemo, who was very close to cracking the Kings’ roster, was an alternate captain for the Swedes. For my money, he was also the best forward on the team. He had one goal and one primary assist but he could have easily had a few more points if things went his way. He played on the second line and was used as the shooter on the second power play unit. He also played on the penalty kill in game three and managed to create multiple scoring chances while shorthanded – even though he didn’t get any points in that game, it may have been his best game in the tournament. Fagemo is known for his great shot and he showed that in this tournament as well but he also made a lot of above-average plays, and he doesn’t usually get enough credit for those. Fagemo is a lock for the final WJC roster and should play a top-six role there.

 

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Lucas Raymond, W, 2020 NHL Draft – Raymond played on the third line and was responsible for running the top power play unit. The third line wasn’t really working in the first two games but even then, Raymond flashed some high-end skill in those games, especially on the power play. In game three, Raymond had his best game, and he scored a nice goal on the power play. Raymond is not ready to dominate at even strength at this level yet but because he provides that special ability to be a difference-maker at times, especially on the power play, he should be on the final WJC roster and play a role similar to what he played in this tournament.

 

Alexander Holtz, W, 2020 NHL Draft – Holtz also played on the third line and on the top power play unit but was used more as a shooter which makes sense because he might be the best goal-scorer on this team (maybe it’s still Fagemo but Holtz is up there as well). Holtz scored one goal but had a chance to score a few more because he was able to get to good shooting positions. But he also created some scoring chances for himself and his linemates. Holtz did also have an assist but it was just a secondary assist with nothing to it. Holtz is playing with a bit more confidence than Raymond because he’s been playing a big role in the SHL already. He can also be a true difference-maker at this level, although he’s not ready to do it consistently. Holtz should be on the final WJC roster and play a similar role as he did in this tournament – although I’d be curious to see how he would play if he was separated from Raymond. I believe both would thrive on their own as well but I’d love to see it.

 

Karl Henriksson, C, New York Rangers – Sweden’s expected number one center Jacob Olofsson (MTL) got sick right before the tournament, so Henriksson was elevated to a bigger role than what was originally planned for him. He played on the top line for the first two games, and even though he played well, he didn’t really stand out much. But when he was moved to center Raymond and Holtz in game three and given some power play time which he didn’t see in earlier games, Henriksson started to stand out much more. Those three played together at the U18 Worlds last spring, so it would make sense to keep them together at the World Juniors as well. Sweden’s depth down the middle isn’t nearly as good as it is at wings, so Henriksson’s spot should be secure.

 

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Jonatan Berggren, W, Detroit Red Wings – Berggren played on the top line and was used as the net-front guy on the top power play unit. He had two assists but one of them should have gone to someone else, so he actually had just one. Berggren played well and made a few great plays but all in all, he didn’t stand out as much as one would expect given his role on the team. Berggren is very likely to be on the final WJC roster because he can play any role and he always gives great effort but he didn’t really do anything to solidify his spot in this tournament.

 

Nikola Pasic, W, New Jersey Devils – Pasic played on the top line and ran the second power play unit. He had a strong start to the tournament, scoring two goals in the first game. But he only had one secondary assist after that, and the whole line seemed to lose its effectiveness. Pasic is very likely to be on the final WJC roster, and if he’s put on a line with the right kind of linemates, he could have a very good tournament there. But this tournament was a bit up-and-down for him.

 

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Albin Eriksson, W, Dallas Stars – Eriksson played on the fourth line but he was also used in the middle of the box on the second power play unit, and he was a regular on the penalty kill. Eriksson is known for his offensive skills but seemed to do well even though he was playing a defensive role in this tournament. He managed to create some offense here and there and scored a goal on the power play as well but obviously his opportunities were limited because of the role he played. Eriksson’s likelihood of being on the final WJC roster is very high because he can play any role and be used in any situation, and coaches love having players like that in short tournaments.

 

Oskar Bäck, C, Dallas Stars – Bäck centered Raymond and Holtz in the first three games, and it seemed like he was holding those two back a bit offensively. Bäck is better suited for a purely defensive role at this level, so having him on a line with two offensive wingers isn’t going to bring out the best of him. The same thing seemed to happen when he switched spots with Henriksson, and after that, Bäck’s new linemates Berggren and Pasic didn’t seem to get much done offensively. The one positive thing about his tournament was that he was very good in shorthanded situations. Bäck is a fine prospect but there are obvious limitations in his game. But he is very well suited for a fourth line center role with lots of time on the penalty kill, so he could very likely play that type of role at the World Juniors.

 

Marcus Karlberg, W, Columbus Blue Jackets – Karlberg played on the fourth line and didn’t see time on either special team besides one shift on the power play. He scored one goal which was a nice shot on a two-on-one situation but other than that, there is nothing else to really write about his tournament. He is a potential player for the World Juniors but could very easily be replaced by someone else because he isn’t really able to bring much to the table playing that type of a role, and the players ahead of him are just better than him.

 

Nils Lundkvist, D, New York Rangers – Lundkvist, who has had an amazing start to the season in the SHL, was an alternate captain for the Swedes. For my money, he was the best defenseman on the team. He only had one assist but he was consistently doing positive things to impact the game, and I didn’t see him do any big mistakes. He didn’t do anything flashy but was consistently providing good puck-movement and playing well defensively. He also played on the top power play unit. Lundkvist is a lock for the World Juniors and should play a big role there as well.

 

Philip Broberg, D, Edmonton Oilers – Last season, Broberg was constantly making coast-to-coast rushes, dangling though people, and skating around the offensive zone. None of that was seen in this tournament, though. It is clear he is trying to simplify his game but it may have gone too far because I miss the player he was last year. He also hasn’t got rid of some of his bad habits because he made a few massive mistakes with the puck, and his defensive contributions are still not great. Broberg played on the second pair and on the second power play unit, so his usage was very good. He made some good offensive plays but in general, just seemed like a completely different player than what he was before. I’m not saying he necessarily played poorly but he wasn’t using his strengths and therefore wasn’t making the kind of impact he’s capable of making. Broberg is very likely to play at the World Juniors, and I hope we see more of the old Broberg there.

 

Adam Ginning, D, Philadelphia Flyers – Ginning wore the ‘C’ as he’s done in many previous international events as well. He took some bad penalties because opposing players were skating past him and he couldn’t keep up. He also made a couple of big mistakes with the puck. Ginning was good on the penalty kill and he’s great at clearing the crease and protecting his teammates when they get into shoving matches. But Ginning shouldn’t be playing a top-pair role like he did in this tournament because he is a bit of a liability with his skating and puck-skills. But coaches seem to love him, so he will likely see a big role at the World Juniors as well.

 

Filip Johansson, D, Minnesota Wild – Johansson played on the second pair and was a regular on the penalty kill. He played a purely defensive role and did a good job at that. He did make some simple breakout passes but that’s about the most difficult offensive play he did in the tournament. Johansson is very likely to play at the World Juniors and be used in a similar fashion there as well.

 

Mattias Norlinder, D, Montreal Canadiens – Norlinder played on the third pair and was a regular on the penalty kill. He made some nice moves with the puck in the first game but seemed to play a safer game after that because he was mostly invisible in games two and three. I was expecting to see more plays with the puck from him. Norlinder has a good chance to be on the final WJC roster but he didn’t do anything to stand out among the options they have for the final few spots.

 

Simon Lundmark, D, Winnipeg Jets – Lundmark got similar usage as Norlinder, and he was similarly invisible for the most part. He had one point but it was just a secondary assist with nothing to it. Lundmark is also a possibility for the World Juniors but could easily be replaced if someone else impresses more over the next month or so.

 

Hugo Alnefelt, G, Tampa Bay Lightning – Alnefelt has had a great start to his SHL career this season, and he continued that great play in this tournament as well. He started two of the three games and stopped 53 out of 55 shots (.964 save percentage). He really held his team in the games, especially on the penalty kill. His reads were great and he made some saves where the shooters were sure they’d score. The WJC is usually dominated by 19-year-olds but Alnefelt has a real chance to steal the starting job despite being just 18 years old.

 

Jesper Eliasson, G, Detroit Red Wings – Eliasson played just one game, their first one, and even though he stopped 18 out of 19 shots (.947 save percentage) and got the win, he wasn’t overly impressive in that one. He gave up some juicy rebounds in situations where he should have been able to handle them better, and the one goal he allowed never should have gotten past him. Eliasson has a good chance to be one of the three goalies at the World Juniors but it remains to be seen if he sees any game action there.

 

Czech Republic

 

The Czechs only won their game against Finland (in overtime) and scored a total of five goals, so their tournament was only slightly better than Finland’s.

 

Jan Mysak, F, 2020 NHL Draft – Mysak was by far the most interesting prospect on this Czech team. He’s a projected first round pick for the upcoming draft. Even though he played at center last season, he’s been back at wing this season, and that’s where he played in this tournament as well. He played a middle-six role and got time on the power play where he played in the middle of the box. He was also a regular on the penalty kill in games two and three. Mysak showed some flashes of greatness but wasn’t able to do it consistently. Obviously that is understandable considering his age but I was hoping to see better consistency from him to make sure he gets a good role at the World Juniors as well. I don’t think his spot on the final roster is really in doubt but I’d love to see him with a bigger role there.

 

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Matej Blümel, W, Edmonton Oilers – Blümel played a top-six role and was also used as the net-front guy on the top power play unit. He was also a regular on the penalty kill, so he was getting great usage. He had one goal which was a really nice play but other than that, his offensive contributions didn’t really match with his usage. He is more of a complementary offensive player than someone who generates offense, so he needs to play with good linemates. Blümel seems like a lock for the final WJC roster.

 

Karel Plasek, W, Vancouver Canucks – Plasek played on the third line and ran the second power play unit. He scored a goal in the first game, and even though it was a great shot, the goalie really should have stopped it. Plasek also had a great primary assist in the second game where he made a great cross ice pass on the power play. He also got one secondary assist in that game. Plasek had a good tournament, and it should be enough to solidify his spot on the final WJC roster – especially when he’s a returning player from last year.

 

Jan Sir, C, undrafted – I swear this is a real name, and one I would love to steal from him. But Sir didn’t just catch my eye with his name, he also played very well. His three goals was enough to tie the tournament lead both in goals and points. Sir is a big center who skates pretty well for his size. He has a great shot and he’s able to get into shooting positions. I haven’t seen enough of him to say if he has NHL potential or not but he’s someone I’ve added to my watch list now because of his performance in this tournament. He played a middle-six center role. He was also used as the net-front guy on the second power play unit, and he was a regular on the penalty kill where he used his long reach effectively. Sir’s performance in this tournament should be enough to be on the final WJC roster. I’m eager to see more of him.

 

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Martin Hugo Has, D, Washington Capitals – Has has played in Finland for a couple of years now, and he’s been mostly playing at the men’s level this season. He played on the top pair in the first two games but missed the third game entirely – I’m guessing he was injured because he played very well until then. He was used as the shooter on the top power play unit, and he was a regular on the penalty kill. Has is a big kid, and it would do him well if he played a more physical style and was a bit meaner in front of the net and by the boards. He’s a lock for the final WJC roster and should play a big role for the Czechs.

 

Lukas Dostal, G, Anaheim Ducks – Dostal is also playing in Finland this season, and he’s the number one goalie for his Liiga team Ilves. Dostal is also the undisputed number one goalie for the Czechs at the U20 level, and he was already their number one at last year’s World Juniors. He started two games and stopped 63 out of 66 shots (.955 save percentage). The Czechs allowed a lot of shots but Dostal kept them in both games and was exceptional against Finland. He also made one awesome save against the Swedes, check the clip below.

 

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Nick Malik, G, 2020 NHL Draft – Malik is one of the most interesting goalie prospects for the upcoming draft and could realistically get drafted in the second round. He only played one game and that was against Russia. Even though he played mostly well, some of his weaknesses were exposed, and the Russians were just too much for him to handle at this point. He stopped 25 out of 29 shots (.862 save percentage) but he didn’t play as poorly as the numbers may suggest because some of the goals that were scored on him, even Dostal couldn’t have stopped. Malik may get to experience the World Juniors in his home country later this year but assuming Dostal is healthy, Malik is unlikely to see many games there. But the U18 Worlds will be a place where he needs to be one of the top goalies in the tournament.

 

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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 Liiga.fi and SHL.se