5. NHL stars on full display
We’ve mentioned it already but one of the great things about the World Juniors is that it does give NHL fans a chance to see their team’s future star or stars in action up close and personal.
This year is no different and while we have already taken a look at Anaheim Ducks prospect Trevor Zegras, Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stuetzle and LA Kings rookie Quinton Byfield, there are a dozen more examples to be found in this tournament.
For instance, Dawson Mercer has emerged as a real star for Team USA and, not only does the right-winger work incredibly hard in all three zones, but he can also contribute offensively and that should excite New Jersey Devils fans.
Matthew Boldy executed a filthy between-the-legs goal in Team USA’s shutout win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday, which you can watch below, and the Minnesota Wild will be hoping that their 12th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft can eventually translate that to the NHL.
Elsewhere, John Peterka, who was taken No. 34 overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, has impressed for Germany with five points (1 G, 4 A) in three games, while Simon Holmstrom (New York Islanders), Victor Soderstrom (Arizona Coyotes) and Noel Gunler (Carolina Hurricanes) have all been standouts for an impressive Sweden team.
Anton Lundell, the 12th overall pick by the Florida Panthers in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, is leading the charge for Finland and showing what he could be capable of in Sunrise, and Nashville Predators fans have also gotten a look at how Yaroslav Askarov has looked between the pipes for a powerhouse Russia team, which also boasts Vancouver Canucks stud Vasili Podkolzin, who has three goals (2 G, 1 A) in three games.
Overall, there is star power everywhere you look at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships and that will only continue to be magnified the more we get into the meaty part of the tournament.
Bring it on!