Future Considerations

Landeskog to lead eligibles at WJC

From Dan Stewart:

Each and every year there is a draft eligible prospect or two that go on to make a name for themselves over the holiday tournament competing against the worlds best junior aged players in the annual IIHF U20 World Junior Championship.

The 2011 event will be no different as many of the top draft prospects for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft will suit up for their respective national squads in hopes of bringing home a Gold medal along with national pride.

On the eve of the big event FC takes a look into the old crystal ball and gives you a taste of which draft eligible prospects are primed to have a breakout preformance for their nations during this holiday season.

1A). – Gabriel Landeskog, Team Sweden
He might not put up as many points as our second place preformer, but Gabriel Landeskog could have a bigger impact overall as he will be counted on to bring much of the physical edge and grit Sweden needs if they are to not only compete, but win against the much more physical Canadian and USA Squads in Buffalo. If any draft eligible prospect has the ability to put his WJC team on his shoulders and carry it on his back it is the multifacited Landeskog. He will without a doubt put up points as he will play first line and power play minutes while being counted on to drive the puck to the net and dig for pucks in the coners and stand in front of the oppositions net looking for rebound goals as he has done all season in Kitchener.

          WJC Point Prediction: GP 7  G 4  A 3  PTS 7

1B). – Sean Couturier, Team Canada
Even with all the attention spotlighting his stong two-way game, make no mistake; Couturier will be counted on to produce offensively for Canada. Couturier adds a big body with some soft hands and ability to not only finess a goal scoring chance but also make one using his size infront of the net. Even with all those assets his best yet might be his ability to find open teammates with his vision and passing ability. With the lunch pail group Canada is sending to Buffalo, the potential top draft selection in 2011 will see plenty of power play time as well as top six minutes.

          WJC Point Prediction: GP 7  G 3  A 6  PTS 9

3). –   Joel Armia, Team Finland
 The big, skilled Armia is a scary sight for tenders when he is screaming down the wing and    cutting to the net with the puck on his stick. He should see plenty of prime ice time with the      Finns in Buffalo and put up some points especially when you consider his impressive start in the SM-Liiga this season and that Mikael Granlund, one of the U20 teams top offensive threats, is not participating in the tournament due to injury.

WJC Point Prediction: GP 7  G 3  A 3  PTS 6

4). –   Sven Bartschi, Team Switzerland
Last year another Swiss prospect on this list and he went on to enjoy some success at the WJC Saskatoon tournament and pick up a couple catchy monikers as well. Look for Bartschi to enjoy some success this year as well but likely without the fanfair his countryman, Nino Niederreiter, stired up. One of the Western Hockey Leagues leading point getters in his first North American season with Portland, Bartschi should be a key cog in the Swiss offensive attack in Buffalo and could play Robin to ”El Nino’s” Batman.

WJC Point Prediction: GP 6  G 2  A 4  PTS 6 

5). –   Adam Larsson, Team Sweden
Despite the WJC spotlight usually shinning brightest on the offensively skilled forward who puts up gaudy point totals, see Hall and Tavares in previous tournaments; Larsson will be counted on the produce not only with offensive production from the backend but even more importantly in a defensive role and in leading this young Swedish squad as a high profile returnee on a team without the star power we have seen from the Swedes in years past.

          WJC Point Prediction: GP 7  G 1  A 3  PTS 4

Honorable Mentions:

German Forward Tobias Rieder will likely put in a strong offensive preformance in Buffalo for an overmatched German squad that will rely on strong team defensive play and the few skilled players to contribute a goal here and there.

Slovakian defender Peter Ceresnak should use his strong physical defensive first game to gain some of the spotlight in North America and in turn help improve his draft stock.

Two other Swedes have been given a grand opportunity to show they can contribute and in turn drastically raise their draft stock with media and fans alike.

Skilled forward Max Friberg can use his hard work, offensive skill and speed to put up points in a secondary scoring role while two-way defender Jonas Brodin has the ability to control the play in his own zone and may just leave Buffalo with a few more draft fans than he had before.

Dan Stewart is the chief scout of Future Considerations. Follow the latest 2011 NHL Entry Draft and World Junior Championship news from Future Considerations via FC’s Official Twitter Feed at www.twitter.com/FCHockey.


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