Goals were the order of the day at the 2021 World Junior Championship. A total of 37 goals were scored in Saturday’s three games, including one highlight-reel tally from a young Swedish prospect. There was also a scary hit that could have been a lot worse than it looked. Finally, in Russia, a recent top draft pick scored one of the prettiest goals you’ve seen in a long time.
Söderblom Scores Beautiful Goal
Detroit Red Wings fans have plenty to watch at this year’s World Junior Championships, especially when Team Sweden takes the ice. The Red Wings have three recent draft picks playing for Sweden and they all found the scoresheet in their tournament-opening 7-1 win over the Czech Republic.
Although we are just two days into the action, the goal of the tournament may have already been scored. While on a third-period power play, Elmer Söderblom went between his legs for this beauty of a goal. He also had an assist to finish with two points.
The win was the 53rd in a row for the Swedes in the preliminary round. They have not lost in group play since Dec. 31, 2006, when the United States beat them 3-2 in overtime.
The Red Wings drafted the 6-foot-8 Söderblom in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He had two goals and four points in four games playing in Sweden’s top junior league before getting the promotion to the top professional league, the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). He has played in seven games for Frölunda HC and is still looking for his first SHL.
The other two Red Wings prospects also chipped in on offense during the win. Lucas Raymond, the fourth overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, had an assist on Saturday. He had five goals and 12 points as Söderblom’s teammate with Frölunda HC.
Theodor Niederbach, Detroit’s second-round pick (51st overall) this past October, scored a goal in his first WJC game. He is also playing for Frölunda HC in the SHL and has one goal in 11 games.
Moynihan Absorbs a Huge Hit
The United States found its way into the win column on Saturday night. After a disappointing 5-3 loss to Russia on Friday, Team USA bounced back with an 11-0 blowout of Austria that saw them end the night with a 73-10 advantage in shots on goal.
Late in the game, forward Patrick Moynihan had a scary situation with just over a minute to play in the game. After passing the puck at center ice, he was nailed in the head by Austria’s Philipp Wimmer. The hit was ugly and unnecessary.
Moynihan, who had two assists before this collision, left the ice and hung out in the tunnel until the end of the game. Head coach Nate Leaman indicated that the young forward was ok after the scary-looking incident.
The New Jersey Devils selected Moynihan in the sixth round (158th overall) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He is playing in his first World Junior Championship. He had no points in his two games with Providence College this season before heading out with Team USA.
Kravtsov Makes it Look Easy
While most of the hockey world is focused on the games in Edmonton, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) was in action over the weekend. We’ve written a lot about New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov in this column. He has given plenty of reasons to talk about him during his season with Traktor Chelyabinsk.
On Saturday, Kravtsov showed exactly why the Rangers used the ninth overall pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to select him with this amazing goal versus Kunlun Red Star.
After receiving a great stretch pass from Will Roman, Kravtsov absolutely undresses Jake Chelios, the son of NHL legend Chris Chelios. Even though the move put him in a less than ideal spot to shoot from, he calmly flips a filthy backhand past goaltender Jeremy Smith. Possibly the most impressive thing about the whole play is that he never even cracked a smile after the play. He looks like that is exactly how he planned the play and that’s quite scary.
Despite a very disappointing 2019-20 season, the Rangers are still very high on Kravtsov, as they should be. In 33 KHL games this season, he has 11 goals and 16 points. His loan to Traktor is for the entire 2020-21 season, so he could make a return to North American in the spring after the KHL season concludes.