The 2015 World Juniors are now over and for the most part, it was a
successful tournament for Montreal’s prospects. Two of the four are
heading home with medals while all four had some strong moments at times over
the past two weeks. Here is one last look at the World Juniors with our
Jacob de la Rose – Sweden
I liked de la Rose’s play during the Preliminary Round but he was nowhere
near as noticeable in the final few must-win games. He was still an
effective penalty killer and did the little things but they really could have
used more offence from him considering that he spent the majority of the
tournament on what was pegged as the top line. Zero points in the final
five games is certainly a bit of a blemish on what was shaping up to be a very
good tournament in the early going.
Stats: 7 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -1 rating, 4 PIMS, 12
shots, 67/116 faceoffs (57.8%)
Grade: B-: As a third year player, more offence was expected
but aside from that, de la Rose played pretty well. The coaches also saw
it that way, naming him one of Sweden’s Top-3 players for the tournament.
Zach Fucale – Canada
Yes, he was shaky in the second period of the Gold Medal game but that was
about the only real negative for Fucale. He wound up earning the starting
job which was a big hurdle to climb and only allowed six goals in five games.
I’m still a little concerned that his rebound control is shaky but that should
improve over time. After such a disappointing end to the 2014 tournament,
Fucale should begin his next Memorial Cup push in a much better state of mind as
at the end of the day, he got the win when it mattered most.
Stats: 5 GP, 5-0-0 record, 1.20 GAA, .939 SV%, 2 SO
Grade: B: I would have liked to have seen one big,
confidence-inspiring save from Fucale in that second period against Russia to
help stabilize the team. But aside from that, he did what he needed to and
is now tied for the most WJC victories in Team Canada history.
Artturi Lehkonen – Finland
Even though he was in quite the slump with his SHL team prior to this
tournament, I figured Lehkonen would use the first few games to get back on
track against lesser competition. That didn’t happen. I then thought
he’d find another gear once the must-win games came around. That didn’t
happen either. Yes, his hockey sense allowed him to do a lot of good
things away from the puck but his main role was to be an offensive catalyst and
he did not live up to that. To be completely fair though, he apparently is
still recovering from his offseason bout with mono and as a result, he probably
Stats: 5 GP, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, -1 rating, 6 PIMS, 20 shots
Grade: C: 100% or not, you can’t call Lehkonen’s performance in
the tournament a success. There’s still a lot to like about him as a
prospect though, this should just be a bump in the road and not a sign of things
Martin Reway – Slovakia
The rate that the Slovaks relied on him to carry the load was mind-boggling
but to his credit, Reway lived up to the extremely high pressure for most of the
games. I wasn’t a fan of either of his efforts against Canada but he was
dominant in the other ones, including a very impressive performance in the
Bronze Medal game which resulted in a huge upset. He was the best of the
Habs’ prospects in my opinion in this tournament.
Stats: 7 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, -1 rating, 2 PIMS, 19
shots, 76/119 faceoffs (63.9%)
Grade: A-: When given the time and space, he made a lot of good
things happen and was in on 60% of Slovakia’s goals. I’d like to see him
get more aggressive in trying to get that time and space instead of playing as
casual as he often does. That will help him take that next step.