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CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: Sweden 4 – 2 USA

A hyped semi-final game took place today with team Sweden taking on team USA. Games like these are ideal measuring sticks for player evaluation as both teams are loaded with talent and playing at maximum intensity with a chance to play for gold on the line. Today would match up the top prospect for the 2018 amateur draft in Rasmus Dahlin, versus the top player in the tournament at this point, Casey Mittelstadt. The stage was set for a national hero to emerge, lets see who prevailed!

The Rundown

An overall timid start from both teams with the exception of a handful of players, but the usual suspects stood out in the first period. The Canucks own, Elias Pettersson, Swedish defenceman, Rasmus Dahlin, and American forward, Casey Mittelstadt. It was a low event period of hockey but some blue-chip prospects had flashes of brilliance which kept us entertained.

Pettersson, with a rare misfire on a golden opportunity. A wicked release but he whips it wide.

Quite a sequence here with one of Timothy Liljegren’s many stretch passes on the day, Liljegren hits Pettersson in stride in the neutral zone for the direct zone exit and Pettersson taps it with the heel of his stick who hits Rasmus Dahlin in stride for the easy controlled entry. That’s how it’s done!

Time for Mittelstadt to put on a show with a coast to coast rush including a dangle on the Swedish defender, Gustav Lindstrom. Mittelstadt is electric in the offensive zone, can’t wait to see what he can do on the powerplay with the Sabres and fellow American, Jack Eichel. It’s worth noting they’ll be inverted on the powerplay if they so chose as Mittelstadt is a lefty and Eichel and righty, should be fun to watch.

The 2018, first overall pick, to a team yet to be determined, Rasmus Dahlin decided he’d beat three Americans with some nifty stick handling. After Dahlin dances the three, he ends up with a shooting opportunity directly in front of American goaltender, Joseph Woll, who made the kick save to keep it scoreless.

Shots were 8-5, USA after one in a tentative period of safe hockey which had its rare offensive moments.

Pettersson was noticeably physical today which is kind of scary when you consider he’s listed at 165 pounds. I imagine he’ll be just fine with the physical game once he puts on another 10-15 pounds.

Another play that had Canucks fans stocking up on lottery tickets. My goodness, is he even trying?

Pettersson would score the games first goal making it 1-0 Sweden. I love the patience shown by Pettersson here, waiting until the American defender is out of the way so he can snap this one, going top-shelf for his fifth goal of the tournament.

The Dahlin show had Vancouver imagining a brighter future, wouldn’t it be glorious? Dahlin up high on the powerplay, even if he didn’t pass it to Boeser, he’d have Pettersson to his right. Dare to dream Canucks fans.

Shots were 19-14 USA, after two with Sweden leading the game 1-0.

Here’s more creative work from Liljegren, who shakes the defender with a swift move, spots Andersson in the neutral zone and fires a pass for another direct exit leading to an easy controlled zone entry. Andersson and Karlstrom would proceed to play give and go for the pretty 2-0 goal. Any chance we can clone Liljegren to play beside Olli Juolevi in a couple of years?

Sweden would get into a little bit of penalty trouble early in the third with Glenn Gustafsson, Erik Brannstrom, and Linus Lindstrom would combine to take three penalties in a row. You would think this would help USA equalize the game, it didn’t. Instead, Sweden’s speed on the penalty kill created havoc for the American powerplay, leading to two quick shorthanded goals. Yikes!

The first by Oscar Steen with this unassisted snipe, PING! 3-0 for Sweden.

Followed quickly by the Washington Capitals, fifth round pick, Axel Jonsson who followed with a bardown goal himself to make it 4-0. If the third goal wasn’t the dagger, this one definitely was.

I caught up on my Swedish junior hockey yesterday and have now watched three of their games in the last two days and Jonsson has been a standout in every one due to his speed. How Jonsson fell to the fifth round is incredible to me. He’s is a prime example of what happens when you defend with speed and pressure, it causes mistakes and turnovers. For me, he’s a prototype of what you want on your third and fourth lines in today’s NHL. He’s definitely a player I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future, well done Capitals scouting staff!

New York Islanders, 2016, 19th overall pick would draw the American squad within three with this snipe, 4-1 Sweden. Bellows is having a tremendous showing at the 2018 World Junior Championship, scoring seven goals in six games with that powerful and accurate shot.

As some dream about Dahlin, others think about American forward, Brady Tkachuk in a Canucks sweater come draft day. On draft day, it’s important to be prepared for all scenarios and there’s plenty of scenarios that have Tkachuk ending up in the blue and green jersey and that wouldn’t be a bad fetch. I assume the Canucks will be a lottery team but can’t imagine them getting lucky with the number one pick. If Vancouver is picking anywhere from two to five, don’t be surprised if they select Tkachuk. Personally, I’d go with a defenceman,but I also firmly believe in taking the best player available no matter what the situation is. There’s lots hockey left to be played and plenty of time left to evaluate, leaving us with oodles of time to debate which players we’d prefer.

Back to the game, Tkachuk would swat in a rebound with the goalie pulled draw the Americans within two, but that’s as close as they’d get as the Swede’s took this one 4-2.

Quick Hits

  • Play Quinn Hughes more( 8:04), at least he’ll be nice and fresh to help you win a bronze medal. If you don’t have the brass to play him in a bronze medal game, I’m not sure who can help you. ‘But he’s risky and small’ – In my best Jim Gaffigan voice.
  • Elias Pettersson came up clutch when it counted scoring the crucial first goal of the game with a lethal release. Pettersson has every offensive tool imaginable which makes him nearly impossible to stop on the powerplay.   He displayed plenty of chemistry on the PP with Dahlin which I’m certain will come into play during the gold medal game. Again, imagine those two with Boeser on the powerplay.
  • Swedish goalie Filip Gustavsson was rock solid today, especially early in the game when it was scoreless. He finished the day with 29 saves on 31 shots.
  • In addition to winning the best hair of the tournament award, I’m giving Swedish forward, Axel Jonsson the best penalty killer of the tournament trophy, barring a disaster in the gold medal game.
  • Fortitude00

    Tanev for Liljegren make it happen we need a defender that can make those passes in the future. Can always find stay at home d men and develop them but finding top talent puck moving D is so hard.

    • Puck Viking

      I was for keeping him until recently now I think that our defense is so weak with almost nothing coming that we should move on this season and anything else back there not only to get assets but also to increase our chances of landing Dahlin.

    • TheRealPB

      There is no way that Toronto makes that deal. He’s their prized D prospect. Maybe if Hainsey hadn’t come in and stabilized their blue line somewhat, but he has so I don’t see them being that desperate.

    • truthseeker

      Sorry, but you can’t find shot suppression like Tanev. There’s like only one other guy in the NHL over the past 2 seasons with a rating as high as him. Everyone else is a level below. Making amazing D plays is pretty much the exact same thing as making amazing offensive plays. Not everyone can do it.

      Not saying we don’t need what your saying….we do…but just like you “can’t teach” offense, you also can’t teach the D plays he makes. It goes way beyond positioning and gap control.

    • canuckfan

      I am now convinced that this would be a good trade for both teams Leafs can be a cup contender this year and have Tanev pretty cheap for a couple more years as Leafs will have to sign some of their young stars, yes they are building for the future but they can win now and keep winning as they sign and move some of their young stars when they start getting into salary problems and winning a cup will have the players wanting to win more and possibility signing for a discount to stay with Leafs.
      If that trade were to happen Canucks would still have Edler to bring up the young defenders and I would try and sign Gudbranson for the muscle and grit if he won’t sign dump him asap and then get Goldobin to start trying to bring the big Russian back and do what another poster said earlier in another post bring his family with him.

    • Holmes

      I am all over that deal. Liljegren was picked #17 or thereabouts in a draft that was considered so so. This seems like a deal that both clubs would consider fair value….? No?

    • Burnabybob

      I would be open to trading Tanev. On the other hand, he’s still young enough that he could still help the team for many more years, and he’s a stabilizing force among inexperienced defensemen. It really depends on what they can get for him.

      There should also be a good puck mover available to the Canucks at the draft. Decent chance Quinn Hughes will be available, and likely Ty Smith. Smith looks good, averaging about a point per game with Spokane. Historically, many top defensemen are taken later in the draft, too. So there are ways to address the team needs without trading Tanev.

      • argoleas

        Ultimately, I’m fine with Tanev being traded if, and only if, the deal is awesome (i.e. 1st round + high-end D prospect). Or if he stays with the team for the next 8 years.

        The reason for the later is that he provides exceptional defensive stability, and he is not expensive. Him and Joulevi for the next 6 years will be a great shutdown pair, while whatever high-end pick we grab this year can be brought up behind them.

  • Heffy

    Don’t even bother to dream, Canucks fans.

    Rasmus Dahlin will be an Oiler.

    If first overall doesn’t go to the Oilers, it will go a US team like Arizona, Buffalo or Pittsburgh. Count on it.

    • truthseeker

      I don’t even care. They get Dahlin and it’s just another huge salary to add to their problems. They’ll have a 3 or 4 guys making so much there won’t be room for any decent mid range guys. They’ll be so top heavy they’ll be worse than they are now.

  • 51Geezer

    Yes, it’s time to start thinking about the draft lottery and dreaming of a #1 spot. I tried Tankathon – just once – and saw it choose Mtl, +4 spots to #1, and Van -3 to #7. One click at NHL Lottery simulator resulted in Anaheim moving up 12 spots to #1. But I think we all know which team will REALLY win the lottery…