Anaheim Ducks: World Junior Championship Recap, Day 4


The Anaheim Ducks started their eight-game homestand off with a win, but while the Ducks do not have another game until Wednesday, the second half of the 2015 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championships began. With all ten teams having played their first two games of the round-robin portion, each country’s team looked to solidify their position in the standings. The Ducks had all three of their prospects in the tournament in action on Monday.

Game 1: Czech Republic vs. Denmark

Result: Czech Republic defeats Denmark 4-3 (OT)

Ducks Prospects: Ondrej Kase (2014 7th round pick, 205th) – Scoreless, Even


Mads Eller (DEN, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Jan Stencel (CZE, 1, PP) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Jan Kostalek (CZE, 1) – Winnipeg Jets (2013 4th rough pick, 114th)
Oliver Bjorkstrand (DEN, 2, PP) – Columbus Blue Jackets (2013 3rd round pick, 89th)
Matthias Asperup (DEN, 1, PP) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Dominik Kubalik (CZE, 1) – Los Angeles Kings (2013 7th round pick, 191st)
David Pastrnak (CZE, 1, OT) – Boston Bruins (2014 1st round pick, 25th)

Game 2: USA vs. Slovakia

Result: USA defeats Slovakia 3-0

Ducks Prospects: None


Sonny Milano (USA, 2) – Columbus Blue Jackets (2014 1st round pick, 16th)
Dylan Larkin (USA, 3) – Detroit Red Wings (2014 1st round pick, 15th)
Tyler Motte (USA, 1) – Chicago Blackhawks (2013 4th round pick, 121st)

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Game 3: Sweden vs. Russia

Result: Sweden defeats Russia 3-2

Ducks Prospects: None


Gustav Forsling (SWE, 1, PP) – Vancouver Canucks (2014 5th round pick, 126th)
Vyacheslav Leshenko (RUS, 2) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Vyacheslav Leshenko (RUS, 3) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Gustav Forsling (SWE, 2, PP) – Vancouver Canucks (2014 5th round pick, 126th)
Axel Holmstron (SWE, 1) – Detroit Red Wings (2014 7th round pick, 196th)

Game 4: Finland vs. Canada

Result: Canada defeats Finland 4-1

Ducks Propects:

Nick Ritchie (2014 1st round pick, 10th) – Scoreless, Even
Shea Theodore (2013 1st round pick, 26th) – 1 A, Even


Sam Reinhart (CAN, 1, PP) – Buffalo Sabres (2014 1st round pick, 2nd)
Sam Reinhart (CAN, 2) – Buffalo Sabres (2014 1st round pick, 2nd)
Artturi Lehkonen (FIN, 1) – Montreal Canadiens (2013 2nd round pick, 55th)
Anthony Duclair (CAN, 2) – New York Rangers (2013 3rd round pick, 80th)
Curtis Lazar (CAN, 2, PP) – Ottawa Senators (2013 1st round pick, 17th)

For the Ducks, Shea Theodore finally found the scoresheet, logging a power-play assist on Reinhart’s first goal to open the scoring in Canada’s win over Finland. He, like many of the Canadian defensemen, is a solid puck-mover and skater. He projects well in the modern-NHL for the Ducks because of that particular skillset, and that first point of the tournament hopefully gets him going. This was the second goal that the Canadian team scored while Theodore was on the ice (the first being Duclair’s goal against Slovakia that gave Canada a 2-0 lead).

Nick Ritchie, on the other hand, is still scoreless. He has been on the ice for only one of Canada’s 16 goals in the tournament (including power-plays, the one goal being Max Domi’s against Germany that made the score 3-0). Ritchie is one of two Canadian forwards without a point. The other is Frederik Gauthier, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect. However, Ritchie is on Team Canada in a scoring role, expected to give the Canadian team some offense. Gauthier, on the other hand, spearheads the Canadian penalty kill and takes important faceoffs (he has won 23 of 30 draws in the tournament, good for a 76.67% percentage). Both Team Canada and the Ducks are looking for the big winger to get going: Canada has found its offense, scoring 16 goals in three contests, and Ritchie needs to find a way to get involved as the criticism of his selection on this roster continues to mount.

As for Ondrej Kase, his Czech squad was perilously close to facing relegation: they were the only team in Group B with no points of any kind. It took a comeback, but the Czechs were able to deny Denmark from their first ever win at the WJC and moved to the fourth spot in the group standings. The Czech right-winger is not a very big player and must learn how to play against bigger players while adjusting to the North American game. However, the NHL has transitioned to a more skill-oriented game. Just as how NHL teams are looking for puck-movers and creative players on the blue-line, teams do not knock smaller players in the NHL, as long as they bring speed and/or skill to the table.

The Ducks effectively utilize Sami Vatanen and Kyle Palmieri, who are both under six-feet but make an impact on the ice. Another terrific example is with the New York Rangers and Mats Zuccarello, who is just 5’7, yet is one of the top playmakers on the Rangers’ squad. Kase is 6’0 and 165 lbs: even if he fills out his frame and bulks up, he most likely will not be a player of “average NHL size” (about 6’1, 205 lbs). But small players do succeed in the NHL, and the Ducks are hoping to see more from the winger, who has one assist and just seven shots on goal through three games.

The Canadians close out their round-robin portion on Wednesday with a match against Team USA in what has been one of the most highly anticipated World Junior matches in recent memory. That match will decide who wins Group A, though both squads have locked up a berth in the elimination round and are guaranteed to finish first and second in the group. The Czechs will finish on Wednesday as well against the Russian squad, and the Czech group will most likely need a win to cement a top-four group finish.

Group A Standings:

1. Canada (3-0-0-0, 9 points)
2. USA (2-1-0-0, 8 points)
3. Slovakia (1-0-0-2, 3 points)
4. Finland (0-0-1-2, 1 point)
5. Germany (0-0-0-2, 0 points)

Group B Standings:

1. Sweden (3-0-0-0, 9 points)
2. Russia (1-1-0-1, 5 points)
3. Switzerland (1-0-0-1, 3 points)
4. Czech Republic (0-1-0-2, 2 points)
5. Denmark (0-0-2-1, 2 points)

Next: Anaheim Ducks: World Junior Championship Day 3 Recap