Another successful tournament for the IIHF and another tournament that sees Canadiens prospects on the podium.
Cole Caufield – USA – Gold Medalist
After Caufield decided to remain with the University of Wisconsin for the 2020-21 season, we circled this tournament as a moment to witness him on a big stage.
Though he is known for his goal scoring and slot presence, Caufield showed us this year, and especially during this tournament, that he is much more and can do much more.
Since the beginning of the season, he’s rushed the puck at a higher rate, has made quicker and more accurate passes, as well as refined his overall skating, which allows him to get to areas smoothly. These three aspects of his game have made him a more dangerous player, more than he was before.
During the tournament, he was noticeable in all three zones while maintaining his sniper identity with 24 shots in seven games, two of them being goals. Though he did not produce as much as we thought he would, he played a more balanced game, which helped his team in the end.
Caufield concludes his World Juniors career with a gold medal, as the U.S. did not qualify for the final four in last year’s tournament. Though he would have preferred to have scored more goals and be a bigger piece to the offence, his overall play should get everyone excited.
Kaiden Guhle – Canada – Silver Medalist
Mostly a shock of a selection to the fanbase, Kaiden Guhle had a lot of eyes on him heading into the 2020 WHL season. When he was told he made the cut for Team Canada, he was put on a national stage for everyone to watch.
His spot on the team was solidified by his commitment to defence along with his bruising playing style. Adding to his already smooth skating for his frame, Guhle’s defending is among the best in the world for his age group. He is by far the best at stopping entries on his side of the ice and that’s a positive no matter your experience.
His performance during Canada’s run to the final was nothing more than stabilizing and reassuring. His game, while defending, was as expected and he even contributed offensively with two goals along with one assist. He added to that a Plus/Minus rating of 8.
Though he did, at times, make questionable decisions with the puck, his overall game came as advertised and positive. He is expected to return at next year’s camp and likely to play higher up in the top-four.
Jan Mysak – Czech Republic – Seventh place
Though the the Czechs don’t have as much fire power as the top teams in this tournament, they play a five-man unit game every shift and it falls heavily on Jan Mysak.
Mysak was named team captain and was given high amounts of responsibilities heading into this tournament. His goal was to lead his team to as much success as possible and they did so by shutting out Russia 2-0 in and defeating Team Austria 7-0 in their second win.
Mysak carried a lot of the play whenever on the ice during the two-week tournament. He played just as well as we last saw him before the OHL season ended and in the limited action he took part in overseas. He won face-offs, protected the puck well and drove the play up when he had possession. His 200-foot game still remains at a high level.
His production was limited to only three points, but what he did on the ice and how he played defensively will not translate to the score sheet. He has continued to play his game and still amazes me that he fell to the second round.
That being said, Jan Mysak’s impact on the international junior level is not over yet. He will be back in 2020 and I’d expect him to reprise his captaincy role with hopefully some more star power on the team.