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Photo Credit: (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

CanucksArmy’s World Junior All-Star Choices

Now that the World Junior Hockey Championships have reached their end, I’m sure you’ve noticed the odd writer posting their All-Star ballot for the tournament on Twitter or in print across the internet.

I figured since we’re covering the tournament at CanucksArmy, why not us?

So, I’m posting my All-Star ballot for the tournament, with an explanation for each vote, and I’m also going to provide the ballots of those writers who submitted one of their own. Obviously, our votes don’t count towards the IIHF’s selection process, but it’s a fun exercise all the same.

We’re going to operate under the same standards as those chosen to vote, so that means three forwards of any position, two defencemen and one goaltender. There’s also an MVP vote, and we added our own wrinkle, the best defenceman and forward. Voting is based on non-medal and non-relegation matches.

J.D. Burke

Forward: Casey Mittelstadt, Team USA

Forward: Klim Kostin, Russia

Forward: Kiefer Bellows, Team USA

Defenceman: Timothy Liljegren, Sweden

Defenceman: Rasmus Dahlin, Sweden

Goalie: Carter Hart, Canada

MVP: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Defenceman: Rasmus Dahlin

Best Forward: Casey Mittelstadt

Choosing just five players for an All-Star ballot proved to be far more difficult than I anticipated. There were a couple of tough decisions there, not the least of which was leaving Elias Pettersson off my list — I just didn’t see enough at even strength to justify his inclusion. So too was leaving Carolina Hurricanes prospect Martin Necas (Czech Republic) and New York Islanders first-rounder Kiefer Bellows (The USA).

Leaving Cale Makar out of the All-Star team was probably the most difficult decision I had to make. On the one hand, Makar was over a point per game player in extremely limited minutes; on the other, Makar played extremely limited minutes. When it was all said and done, I just couldn’t reconcile with someone playing that little getting rewarded in this way. That said, Canada’s head coach Dominique Ducharme really should have played Makar more often.

As for who was left, Casey Mittelstadt was a slam-dunk for an All-Star spot and was most writer’s MVP for the tournament, so I feel pretty good about that selection. Mittelstadt finished the tournament with 11 points in seven games and was carrying the American team on his back for huge chunks of the tournament.

I was surprised not to see Klim Kostin show up on more writer’s All-Star teams, so I took a step towards fixing that with my own. In much the same way that the Americans relied heavily on Mittlestadt to carry their team offensively, the Russians generated the majority of their offence through Kostin. Kostin’s eight points in five games are among the best point per game rates in the tournament, too. This kid has a bright future.

As for Kiefer Bellows, all he did was score, and score constantly, and a lot of his goals were of huge importance to his team winning hockey games. I don’t know what else there is to add, so I’ll leave it at that.

On the blue line, I couldn’t overlook what Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Dahlin did for Team Sweden from the start of the tournament onwards. Liljegren’s two-to-three line passes were just magical and setup so very many a Swedish goal and Dahlin’s dynamism with the puck reaffirmed his status as the righteous first overall on everyone’s draft board.

Janik Beichler

Forward: Casey Mittelstadt, USA

Forward: Martin Necas, Czech Republic

Forward: Filip Zadina, Czech Republic

Defenseman: Adam Fox, USA

Defenseman: Rasmus Dahlin, Sweden

Goalie: Filip Gustavsson, Sweden

MVP: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Forward: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Defenceman: Adam Fox

Darryl Keeping

Forward: Casey Mittelstadt, USA

Forward: Martin Necas, Czech Republic

Forward: Filip Zadina, Czech Republic

Defenseman: Olli Juolevi, Finland

Defenseman: Rasmus Dahlin, Sweden

Goalie: Filip Gustavsson, Sweden

MVP: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Forward: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Defenceman: Rasmus Dahlin

Tyler Horsfal

Forward: Casey Mittelstadt, USA

Forward: Martin Necas, Czech Republic

Forward: Elias Pettersson, Sweden

Defenseman: Conor Timmins, Canada

Defenseman: Rasmus Dahlin, Sweden

Goalie: Carter Hart, Canada

MVP: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Forward: Casey Mittlestadt

Best Defenceman: Rasmus Dahlin

  • Holmes

    I don’t get the support for Pettersson in the context of the tournnament. When the final game went to mach speeds, he was either a liability, or a non factor. Was he good on the powerplay when the stakes were lower? Sure, but BFD, the NHL is full of players like like – see Mike Ribero.

    • Naslund

      The kid was battling the flu for the tournament and was completely worn out by the end. Nonetheless, he showed big league skill, vision, and dangling. Ribero could dangle, but did not have particularly good vision, not to mention his off ice problems which prevented him from being a more long-term player.
      Pettersson looks more promising than that.

  • Sandpaper

    I realize we love defensemen who get lots of points, but, Conor Timmons was the best defenseman on Canada if not the tournament, Libor Hajek was next best.

  • Fred-65

    JB better hope Pettersson turns out a better player than casey Mittelstads. Both ere available to JB and apart from the fact Mittelstads is a bigger player both have skills. In league play Pettersson is in an adult pro league and doing well and CM is in the NCAA and not burning the house down. If the end result is CM turns out better than EP then that maybe the nail in Jimmy boys coffin, time to start praying Jim LOL

    • Bud Poile

      There were 12 center men chosen in the top 20 of the ’17 draft.
      Who knows which ones will be HHOF’ers in 12 years time.
      By that time you’ll be Fred 77 and the nails will likely be in your coffin.

    • redrocket

      is that why liljegren was able to crack the vaunted leafs defence? and brannstrom was able to out perform the 6 bottom pairing d-men vegas has? oh wait those things didn’t happen.

  • Burnabybob

    As I recall, Cody Hodgson led the WJC in scoring was n his draft +1 year. This was one of the main reasons people had sky-high expectations.

    This is to say, the tournament is a small sample and should be taken in context.

  • NorthernBClife

    Pettersson was right there among the best forward in the tournament in his age group. To say he was a liability or non factor is totally false and just dishonest being bias to make your haters point. Pettersson was dangling and setting up and could have easily had more points but created lots despite illness. The elite vision is undeniable, he was by far there most translating pro dynamic forward on Sweden, not just a north south guy but truly dynamic. Shows the ability to change speeds and set table on offence in all situations. Lethal shooter from top of circle both sides of ice, dealing ability second to non. At 165 even though he’s already dominating men at a historic pace in Sweden for his age, he will be even better when he fills out, scary for opponents.

  • TheRealPB

    I think we tend to put way too much into the WJC, as I think that earlier CA article cautioned against. It’s an entertaining tournament but from odd personnel choices in the squads to a sometimes misleading read on a short series, I think we can either over-or under-value players too much. For all that Gretzky, Lindros, Naslund, Forsberg, the Sedins or Bure and Mogilny dominated the tournament and went onto HoF careers, and many other players had lengthy NHL tours, there were lots of players that looked like worldbeaters at the WJC and never really amounted to anything. Justin Pogge, Hnat Domenichelli, even our Jim Sandlak who scored, hit everything in sight and captained the squad are just three who I remember thinking would be way better than they ever were.

    This is one of the better tournaments for Canucks prospects in a while — I thought Gadjovich was excellent in a support role, Juolevi got better as it went on, and Pettersson looked fantastic (and not just on the PP). My biggest disappointment is the injury to Lockwood which was to his repaired shoulder and will likely end his season and hamper his development.

    I would put more stock in the seasons that any of these prospects are having — for example, Juolevi has looked really strong on his pro team in Finland, while Gustavsson has really underwhelmed in Sweden (I love that you guys never bring up that Pittsburgh picked him with the 2nd rounder we got from Anaheim for Bieksa and then flipped to Pittsburgh in the Sutter trade, did you miss that?). Even Mittelstadt — he’s looked good in Minnesota (point per game is nothing to sneer at as a rookie in the NCAA) but he certainly hasn’t dominated on a consistent basis on UMN that has struggled all season.

  • BC SPORTS FAN

    Liligren is a stud on the Marlies, as soon as he left the Marlies to play at the World Juniors the Marlies went on a mini slump. A right hand D-man who can quarterback the power play, actually make a pass to a forward to advance out of our zone. We sure don’t have a d-man like that on our current roster. He is only 18 playing against men in the AHL and dominating play. He will be on the Leafs next season and then we will really regret passing over him in the draft.