2014 U18 Video: Waltteri Hopponen, Finland

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Waltteri Hopponen - Team Finland

Photo: Team Finland forward and 2014 prospect Waltteri Hopponen began the season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, but was released once Mirco Mueller returned to the Silvertips from the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

The host country for the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, Finland, was no doubt hoping to repeat the gold medal performance of that country's U20 squad's win in January at the 2014 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship that was held in Malmo, Sweden.

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2014 U18 Playoff Preview: Canada, USA top groupings heading into playoff round

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Yevgeni Svechnikov - Team Russia

Photo: Team Russia forward Yevgeni Svechnikov (L), shown here competing at last year’s U18 tournament, has been the top offensive player for Russia at the 2014 U18 World Championship (courtesy of ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The preliminary round of the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship is over and the playoff match-ups are set. Despite the odd surprise performances to start off the tournament, the teams have finished off group play in a manner conducive with most expectations coming in. Take a look at who’s up against whom in the playoffs and who you should expect to move on to the next round.

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2014 U18 WJC Preview: Host Finland looking to improve on 2013 bronze finish

by Tony Piscotta
on

Kasperi Kapanen - Team Finland

Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and 2014 prospect Kasperi Kapanen, shown here playing at the 2013 U18 World Championship, will play for host Finland at the 2014 edition of this tournament (courtesy of ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Finland, the host team for the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, finished fifth in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last summer despite winning three of the four games it played. With a number of key additions — particularly on defense — the U18 team competing in Imatra and Laapenranta should be stronger than the team that skated in Piestany, Slovakia.

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Lehkonen heads short list of drafted wingers playing in Finland

by Tony Piscotta
on

Artturi Lehkonen - Finland

Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played on Finland’s top line at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Like Sweden's SHL and the Czech and Slovak Extraligas, Finland's Liiga has been hit hard by the defection of top young players to the KHL for bigger contracts.

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Saros heads small group of NHL-drafted Finnish goaltenders

by Tony Piscotta
on

Juuse Saros - Finland

Photo: HPK Hameenlinna goaltender and Nashville Predators prospect Juuse Saros turned in a stellar performance at the 2014 World Junior Championship, helping to lead Finland to their first gold medal at the U20 WJC since 1998 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

No country has had as much success developing goaltenders in recent years as Finland.

But with 14 Finland-trained goalies playing in North America and another nine playing in Europe in either the KHL or in Sweden's SHL, the number of drafted prospects playing in Finland's Liiga has dwindled to just five.

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