Anaheim Ducks: World Junior Championship Recap, Day 3


The Anaheim Ducks have resumed playing the NHL season, but another tournament is happening in Montreal and Toronto, with the 2015 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championships underway. Although the Ducks have three prospects participating in the tournament, none of those three prospects were in action on Sunday, with only two games going on. The two games involved the four teams with only one game played thus far in the tournament.

Game 1: Switzerland vs. Russia

Result: Russia defeats Switzerland 7-0

Ducks Prospects: None


Rushan Rafikov (RUS, 1, PP) – Calgary Flames (2013 7th round pick, 187th)
Alexander Dergachyov (RUS, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Pavel Buchnevich (RUS, 1) – New York Rangers (2013 3rd round pick, 75th)
Sergei Tolchinski (RUS, 2) – Carolina Hurricanes (2013 undrafted free agent)
Alexander Sharov (RUS, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Vladislav Kamenev (RUS, 1, PP) – Nashville Predators (2014 2nd round pick, 42nd)
Vyacheslav Leshenko (RUS, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible

Game 2: USA vs. Germany

Result: USA defeats Germany 6-0

Ducks Prospects: None


Auston Matthews (USA, 1) – 2016 NHL Draft Eligible
Hudson Fasching (USA, 1) – Buffalo Sabres (2013 4th round pick, 118th, drafted by Los Angeles Kings: acquired in Brayden McNabb deal)
Sonny Milano (USA, 1) – Columbus Blue Jackets (2014 1st round pick, 16th)
Dylan Larkin (USA, 1) – Detroit Red Wings (2014 1st round pick, 15th)
Jack Eichel (USA, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Dylan Larkin (USA, 2) – Detroit Red Wings (2014 1st round pick, 15th)

Both Russia and USA are seen as two teams that are capable of going deep into the tournament and emerging with the gold medal. 2015 NHL Draft phenom Jack Eichel continued his strong tournament, finding the scoresheet once again in Team USA’s rout of Germany. Eichel scored on a gorgeous wrap-around goal, and the tournament has been passed off as a “Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel” debate. McDavid scored Saturday against Germany as well, but his was a greasy goal where he potted his own rebound. Eichel has ten shots on goal through two games, with a goal, assist, and shootout goal. McDavid has eight shots on goal in the same amount of time with a goal and two assists.

Barring a catastrophic midseason collapse and some fortune in the draft lottery, the Ducks probably won’t find themselves in a position to draft either McDavid or Eichel (unless a team deals the Ducks their first round pick, but this has been keyed in as a “special” draft class, and teams have been reluctant to include their top pick in 2015 for this reason). However, all three Ducks prospects should have kept an eye on these games.

Russia is the final opponent for Ducks’ 2014 seventh round pick Ondrej Kase and the Czech Republic in Group B. The Czechs are currently 0-0-0-2 and last in Group B with zero points. If the team cannot improve its results against Denmark and Russia, they will end up in the relegation round. The Czechs face the Danes on Monday and the Russians on Wednesday.

The Ducks also have Shea Theodore and Nick Ritchie on Team Canada, who will face Team USA in what figures to be the premier match of the round-robin stage. Canada and USA are seen as two of the stronger rosters in this year’s WJC, and of course, it adds fuel to the “McDavid vs. Eichel” debate that will be rampant until the 2015 NHL Draft in June (and probably throughout their early NHL careers). Both Ritchie and Theodore are scoreless in the two games for Team Canada.

Theodore has been a solid puck-mover for Team Canada, and that skillset is exactly what NHL teams, such as the Ducks, are looking for in the “modern” NHL defenseman. The Ducks have emphasized getting mobility and puck movers on the blue-line, with Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen as the defensive cornerstones of the franchise. Youngster Josh Manson, who has impressed in limited action, is also a solid puck-moving defenseman, and Theodore will fit well into that mold.

Ritchie is a bit more of a “boom-or-bust” prospect: he boasts tremendous natural ability and is a hulking winger. While speed, skating ability, and shooting prowess can be practiced and improved, size isn’t a quality that can be taught. If Ritchie’s tools pan out, he can become one of the true power-forwards in the NHL, a type of player that is decreasing with the increased emphasis on skill in the league. However, Ritchie has not had a strong tournament, and both Team Canada and the Ducks will be looking for the big winger to start producing in the tournament.

The Canadian squad will face Finland on Monday and the US squad on Wednesday. Canada has cruised, winning their first two games 12-0 while outshooting their opposition 65-29. The game on New Year’s Eve between Canada and USA should contain fireworks, and it should be interesting to see who controls play. While Canada has a 65-29 shot advantage in their first two games, Team USA dominated the shot count against Germany, posting a 53-14 shot advantage.

Group A Standings:

1. Canada (2-0-0-0, 6 points)
2. USA (1-1-0-0, 5 points)
3. Slovakia (1-0-0-1, 3 points)
4. Finland (0-0-1-1, 1 point)
5. Germany (0-0-0-2, 0 points)

Group B Standings:

1. Sweden (2-0-0-0, 6 points)
2. Russia (1-1-0-0, 5 points)
3. Switzerland (1-0-0-1, 3 points)
4. Denmark (0-0-1-1, 1 point)
5. Czech Republic (0-0-0-2, 0 points)

Next: Anaheim Ducks: World Junior Championship Day 2 Recap