The annual World Junior Hockey Championship is an under-20 tournament, so typically it’s dominated by 18 and 19-year-old players who have already been selected by clubs in the annual National Hockey League draft. That said, there is always a small group of promising players eligible for selection in the upcoming NHL Draft showcased at the tournament.
The 2018 World Juniors is no exception. Here’s a quick glance at the top prospects from the 2018 NHL Draft that will be on display in Buffalo.
Potential First Rounders
The bad news is that Team Canada is entirely comprised of players already selected by NHL teams, so anybody hoping to catch a glimpse of the likes of Joe Veleno, Ty Smith or Ryan Merkley will be disappointed.
The good news is that five of the consensus top six players available in the upcoming draft will be on display in the tournament:
- Sweden D Rasmus Dahlin (of Frolunda HC), consensus first overall pick
- Russia F Andrei Svechnikov (of the Barrie Colts), consensus second overall pick
- United States F Brady Tkachuk (of Boston University), a consensus top six pick
- Czech Republic F Filip Zadina (of the Halifax Mooseheads), a consensus top six pick
- Finland F Rasmus Kupari (of Karpat), a consensus top six pick
Other projected first round picks include Swedish F Isac Lundestrom, Swiss F Philipp Kurashev, and American D Quinn Hughes.
If you’re the type of person that likes to watch a little of everything during the World Juniors, it will be very easy for you to get a cross-section of the depth available internationally in the 2018 NHL Draft. The draft depth is primarily split across four teams:
Czech Republic: Goaltender Jakub Skarek, defenseman Filip Kral and forwards Martin Kaut and Jakub Lauko are all first-time draft eligible players who are on the NHL’s Central Scouting Service’s watch list. Forward Kristian Reichel, son of longtime NHLer Robert Reichel, is in his second year of eligibility but has drawn a lot of attention after coming over to the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels as an import.
Denmark: Forward Phillip Schultz is the lone draft eligible player on the Danish roster on the Central Scouting watch list.
Slovakia: The Slovaks have a pair of draft eligible defenders in Martin Fehervary (a B-rated prospect by Central Scouting, potentially a second or third round pick) and Michal Ivan, and a forward in Milos Roman.
Switzerland: The Swiss feature highly-touted forward Nando Eggenberger (another B-rated prospect by Central Scouting), as well as blueliners Nico Gross and Davyd Barandun.
All the 2018 World Junior Championship Team Information:
Czech Republic — Team Preview — Roster
Russia — Team Preview — Roster
Belarus — Team Preview — Roster
Canada — Team Preview — Roster
Denmark — Team Preview — Roster
Slovakia — Team Preview — Roster
All Your THW 2018 World Junior Championship Coverage
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.