World Juniors Put Five Flyers Prospects In International Spotlight
Alicia Sprenkle on Wed, 2014-01-08 00:13
The 2014 World Junior Championships have come and gone.
Finland captured gold on January 5 to win the tournament for players under the age of 20. The host team, Sweden, fell to Finland 3-2 to settle for silver.
Russia defeated Canada to take home bronze. Canada and the United States, two favorites, went home with nothing.
The World Juniors are exciting to watch for the international hockey fan in everyone each year. But whether you have an allegiance to a certain nation or not, it can still be a good time to get familiar with top young prospects.
For Flyers fans, there were five players to look out for. Short reports on their respective play are as follows:
Robert Hagg (D, 18) - Sweden
Hagg showed Flyers fans that there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to his future with the team. His skating was fantastic, and his physical presence was very impressive. Unfortunately, he had the best view of the gold winning goal, but that is not a reflection of his entire play through the tournament by any means.
Scott Laughton (C, 19) - Canada
Laughton wore the “C” for team Canada, a team that is always under the microscope of its passionate fans who dedicate themselves to watching this tournament. It's not easy to handle the pressure that comes with playing for Team Canada, and Laughton did have some slipups early on. The passion took over in a preliminary game against Slovakia and Laughton looked like he was going to lose it as an official did have to calm him down. As Canada got back into the game, Laughton simmered down. He’s a little spark plug, but has some maturing to do before becoming the leader that he is capable of. Unfortunately for anyone hoping for offense, Laughton only managed an assist for one point in seven games.
Taylor Leier (D, 19) - Canada
Leier was simply not noticeable in this tournament. Whether it is because these young teams carry so much offensive talent and scoring punch could be up for debate, but Leier did not have any true memorable impact.
Anthony Stolarz (G, 19) - USA
Stolarz caught his only action in an 8-0 victory over Germany in preliminary play. He only faced 15 shots in 60 minutes, but stopped all of them. Germany struggled mightily in this game, but it is not always the easiest task to stop shots when you are rarely seeing any action. Stolarz did everything necessary for the shutout, and that is all that can be said for his play.
Valeri Vasiliev (D, 19) - Russia
Russia tends to be a team of superstars, and on Russian teams, those superstars are going to be the best players. Others will often blend in and be forgotten. Vasiliev recorded a goal for his only point in the tournament in a 4-1 preliminary loss to Finland. He was not bad by any means, but like Leier, he simply did not stand out. Unfortunately for Flyers fans, defensemen are hard enough to scout as it is, but at such a young age, not much can be said just yet about Leier, Hagg, or Vasiliev. It was also tough to get a read on Stolarz as well.