And that’s a wrap on the 2014 World Junior Championships. I’m sure most of you reading this were hoping for a better result for the Canadian Juniors but, alas, it was not to be. A lack of scoring, some lacklustre goaltending at times, and not enough speed to breakdown trap teams like the Finns were the downfall for Canada, who once again find themselves off the podium. Here’s hoping for a better result on NHL-sized ice next year.
Now that the dust has settled, I thought I’d have a quick look at each of the three Leafs involved in the tournament.
Stat Line: 3 Goals, 3 Assists, 6 Points in 7 Games
Role: Johnson, like basically every other Swedish forward, was used in a scoring role during the tournament. The Swedes had the best balance of scoring of any team in the tournament and Johnson was a part of that. Mostly, he skated with Collberg and Wallmark and saw some powerplay time during the course of the competition.
Positives: Johnson has some really great patience with the puck and seems to know when to hold up, when to push through, and when to lay it off to a teammate. His offensive instincts were strong throughout and his numbers and usage reflected that.
Concerns: Johnson isn’t the biggest guy and that probably isn’t going to change. Despite his 3 goals in the tournament, it looked to me as though his shot was unexceptional.
Stat Line: 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 1 Point in 7 Games
Role: Gauthier was used in a checking / defensive role by Canada. If there was a faceoff that needed winning, he was the guy on the ice. He saw a little bit of PK time and a very little bit of powerplay time. Gauthier saw some time with Laughton early, but probably spent the most time skating with Anderson and Rychel.
Positives: Gauthier was used as a faceoff specialist because he was exceptional at it. His defensive game was reasonably solid and his skating was strong, particularly for a player of his size. Gauthier’s cycle game was also a strength as he and his linemates were often able to pin the opposition deep in their own zone.
Concerns: When Gauthier was on the ice, nobody got scoring chances and that includes Canada. As much time as he spent in the offensive zone cycling the puck, it rarely led to anything. His forecheck was a little disappointing given his combination of speed and size. He’s also afflicted with a similar aversion to having the puck on his stick as Tyler Biggs was last season in Oshawa (though less pronounced) — hopefully he’ll gain confidence with age.
Stat Line: 3 Goals, 0 Assists, 3 Points, 5 Games
Role: Herzog was one of the primary scoring options for the Swiss, finishing second on the team in points and first in goal scoring. I didn’t see Herzog play as much as Johnson or Gauthier, but when I did see him play it didn’t seem like he and the Swiss top point producer, Kevin Fiala, were playing together at even-strength. They looked awfully good together on the powerplay.
Positives: Herzog works his tail off. He was player of the game against the Canadians in their game and was also named one of the Swiss top-3. Having a workmanlike attitude in games your team is expected to lose is a definite positive. Herzog went to the net hard and had long, rangy puck moves. His shot looked like a strength to me but again, I only saw two of his games.
Concerns: Herzog’s skating looked a bit slushy to me in my viewings but at the same time it never really seemed to cost him — I’d need a couple more games to have a stronger opinion on that, but in the interest of putting something in this heading, that’s the issue that stuck out to me.
One last note, all three of the Leafs prospects in this year’s tournament are eligible to return next year and I’d expect that to be the case. If the Leafs manage a strong draft in 2014, we might have a lot to talk about this time next year.
Toronto Maple Leafs ProspectsLatest Update: Sunday, March 2.
|SPENCER ABBOTT||5' 9"||170||25||HAMILTON, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||52||12||46||58|
|TYLER BIGGS||6' 2"||205||20||BINGHAMTON, NY, USA||Marlies (AHL)||45||6||2||8|
|CONNOR BROWN||5' 11"||160||19||TORONTO, ON, CAN||Erie (OHL)||62||41||74||115|
|TONY CAMERANESI||5' 9"||162||20||MAPLE GROVE, MN, USA||U of Duluth (NCAA)||32||4||13||17|
|SAM CARRICK||6' 0"||188||21||MARKHAM, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||45||6||15||21|
|BRANDON KOZUN||5'8"||180||24||LOS ANGELES, CA, USA||Manchester (AHL)|
|JERRY D'AMIGO||5' 11"||208||22||BINGHAMTON, NY, USA||Marlies (AHL)|
Maple Leafs (NHL)
|JAMIE DEVANE||6' 5"||217||22||MISSISAUGA, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
|FREDERIK GAUTHIER||6' 5"||214||18||ST-LIN, QC, CAN||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|FABRICE HERZOG||6' 2"||176||18||FRAUENFELD, CHE||Quebec (QMJHL)|
|GREG MCKEGG||6' 0"||191||21||ST. THOMAS, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
Maple Leafs (NHL)
|BRAD ROSS||6' 0"||175||21||EDMONTON, AB, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||43||5||2||7|
|RYAN RUPERT||5' 8"||186||19||GRAND BEND, ON, CAN||London (OHL)||62||18||43||61|
|KENNY RYAN||6' 0"||204||22||FRANKLIN VILLAGE, MI, USA||Marlies (AHL)||30||3||6||9|
|DOMINIC TONINATO||6' 1"||165||19||DULUTH, MN, USA||U of Duluth (NCAA)||31||6||7||13|
|JOSH LEIVO||6'2"||195||20||INSIFIL, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
|DAVID BROLL||6'3"||235||20||MISSISSAUGA, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
|CARTER VERHAEGHE||6' 1"||181||18||TORONTO, ON, CAN||Niagara (OHL)||59||26||48||74|
|ANDREAS JOHNSON||5'10"||172||18||GAVLE, SWE||Frolunda (SHL)|
|ANDREW MACWILLIAM||6'2"||226||23||CALGARY, AB, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||45||5||5|
|MAX EVERSON||6' 1"||184||20||EDINA, MN, USA||Harvard U (NCAA)||21||6||6|
|MATTHEW FINN||6' 0"||199||19||TORONTO, ON, CAN||Guelph (OHL)||60||14||41||55|
|PETTER GRANBERG||6' 3"||200||21||GALLIVARE, SWE||Marlies (AHL)||54||2||4||6|
|ERIC KNODEL||6' 6"||216||23||WEST CHESTER, PA, USA||U of New Hampshire (NCAA)||36||7||19||26|
|VIKTOR LOOV||6' 1"||187||20||SODERTALJE, SWE||Modo (SHL)||39||4||6||10|
|TOM NILSSON||6' 0"||176||20||MORA, SWE||Frolunda (SHL)|
|STUART PERCY||6' 1"||187||20||OAKVILLE, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||51||2||16||18|
|ZACHARY YUEN||6' 0"||196||20||VANCOUVER, BC, CAN||Orlando (ECHL)||38||1||10||11|
|ANTOINE BIBEAU||6' 3"||207||19||VICTORIAVILLE, QC, CAN||Charlottetown |
Val d-Or (QMJHL)
|CHRISTOPHER GIBSON||6' 1"||188||20||KARKKILA, FIN||Marlies (AHL)|
|GARRET SPARKS||6' 2"||200||20||ELMHURST, IL, USA||Marlies (AHL)|