A total of 220 players from ten countries will compete in the 2007 World Junior Championships in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. Among them, 99 already are NHL draftees, including 27 first round selections.
The NHL teams with the most representatives in Sweden are the Chicago Blackhawks (Jonathan Toews, Jack Skille, Dan Bertram, Igor Makarov, Niklas Hjalmarsson, David Kuchejda), New York Ranger (David Kveton, Tomas Zaborsky, Artem Anisimov, Marc-Andre Cliche, Marc Staal and Tom Pyatt), and St.Louis Blues (Erik Johnson, Patrick Berglund, Tomas Kana, Jonas Junland, Reto Berra, Alexander Hellstrom) with six draftees a piece.
Three teams have no prospects participating in the tournament. Those clubs are the San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, a San Jose second-round pick in 2005, could have played for Team Canada had he not been released from the national team.
CHL well represented
Almost three complete teams could be formed with the players coming from the CHL as 59 of the 220 players participating in the tournament have CHL roots.
Of course, Team Canada leads the pack with 19 CHL players. But there are 14 on the Czech Republic squad and 13 playing for the Slovakian team.
Indeed, Team Russia is the only team lacking players developing in the CHL. Some observers are especially surprised that Ivan Vishnevsky, a 2006 Dallas first round selection, was not chosen to play for Russia.>
Under the scout’s radar
The NHL scouts present in Sweden will watch closely the 111 undrafted players. They will particularly evaluate the 9 players who will be eligible for the first time at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. These players are:
– Jacub Voracek (Czech Republic), a 6-1, 165-pound center. Voracek is the top-ranked prospect in the December draft rankings released by ISS.
– James Van Riemsdyk (USA), a 6-3, 190-pound left wing follows Voracek on the ISS list.
– Sam Gagner (Canada), a 5-10, 190-pound center is sixth on the ISS list.
– Alexei Cherepanov (Russia), a 6-0, 183-pound right wing is ranked 22nd on the ISS list.
– Juraj Valach (Slovakia), a 6-7, 216-pound defenseman is not ranked among the 20 best Slovakian prospects on the CSS preliminary list.
– Etienne Froideveaux, (Switzerland), a 6-0, 176-pound forward.
– Timo Pielmeier (Germany), 6-0, 172-pound goaltender.
– Dimitri Korobov (Belarus), a 6-2, 209-pound defenseman.
– Ihar Voroshilov (Belarus), a 6-0, 185-pound forward.
Two players competing in this WJC were born in 1990, making them the youngest players at this tournament at just 16 years of age. The two players are Roman Josi (Switzerland), a 6-0, 170-pound defenseman, and Vyacheslav Voinov (Russia), a 5-10, 174-pound defenseman.
The Slovakian towers
The tallest player of the tournament is the Slovakian defenseman Vladimir Mihalik, who is 6-8. At 242 pounds, this 2005 Tampa Bay first round pick is also the heaviest player at this WJC.
Two other Slovakian defensemen, Tomas Mugasin (undrafted) and Juraj Valach (undrafted), are 6-7.
The Slovaks are the tallest team, averaging a little more than 6-1. With an average of 193 pounds, this team also averages one pound lighter than the USA team, which has the weightiest team here in Sweden.
No more ties in the WJC
For the first time, the three-point system will be used in the medal rounds at the WJC. Three points will be awarded to the winning team in the regulation time of the preliminary round, with the loser receiving none.
In case of a tie in the preliminary round, teams will be awarded one point each. A five-minute, sudden death overtime played at four-on-four will then take place. The winning team will earn one more point.
If no team can score in the overtime, then a shoot-out will be held. Each team will designate three different players to shoot in the first round. If no team has the lead after these first three shots, each coach can designate any players (it can be same players) to shoot. The game ends when one team takes the lead.
Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.