Flames at the World Juniors

Ryan Pike
December 25 2012 07:03PM

The 2013 edition of the IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off on Boxing Day. The Calgary Flames may be represented by up to five NHL prospects, which is a large number compared to recent years.

Heading into the tournament, does this number represent a massive shift in the organization? And does World Junior success translate into anything?

THE NUMBERS GAME

Looking from 2000 onward (as the IIHF website has no roster information before then), the Flames have been steadily represented. Steadily, albeit inconsistently.

The fewest Flames prospects at the World Juniors would have been a single one. That's happened in 2000 (Dan Cavanaugh), 2001 (Jarret Stoll, during his brief Flames prospect stint), 2006 (Dustin Boyd), 2007 (Leland Irving) and 2008 (Mikael Backlund).

The most Flames prospects was five, in 2003. The five were Finland's Tomi Maki, Russians Andrei “Big Fat Goalie” Medvedev and Andrei Taratukhin, and Americans Brian McConnell and Eric Nystrom. Twelve years later, absolutely none of these guys are part of the organization.

The last few years, the Flames have averaged usually three guys at the World Juniors. Last year it was Bill Arnold, Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund.

Based on history, having a lot of guys at the World Juniors does not guarantee that any of them will turn out to be any good at the NHL level.

SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS?

If having a volume strategy at the World Juniors doesn't necessarily mean that anything good will come of it, how about a quality strategy?

Looking at the tournaments since 2000, you can find a handful of Flames prospect performances that can be deemed as “good” - using the very simple benchmark of 6 points scored or higher. This threshold has been met on 10 occasions (by nine players): Chuck Kobasew, Jarret Stoll, Andrei Taratukhin, Dion Phaneuf, Aki Seitsonen, Dustin Boyd, Mikael Backlund, Markus Granlund and Bill Arnold.

While it's too early to judge Granlund and Arnold as pros, Kobasew, Stoll, Phaneuf and Backlund have at least become NHL regulars, and Boyd was an NHLer of some note for a short time. Using this metric, World Junior individual success tends to translate into NHL success.

On a team level, let's look at gold medalists. Nine gold medals have been won by seven Flames prospects: Andrei Medvedev, Andrei Taratukhin, Greg Moore, Dion Phaneuf, Dustin Boyd, Leland Irving and Keith Aulie. Of these guys, only Phaneuf has really established himself at the NHL level. And Irving got a medal for being the back-up goalie, so he barely counts.

CONCLUSION

The Flames have a lot of players at this year's World Juniors. That's exciting, but don't get too excited unless one or two of them light it up at the tournament. Having a lot of guys at the tournament doesn't guarantee anything, nor does having any of them winning a gold medal. But if any of them have strong individual performances, then get excited.

51a8cdc527ce12d222fdc583f3cf4368
Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
Avatar
#1 Johny Bones
December 25 2012, 07:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

"That's exciting, but don't get too excited unless one or two of them light it up at the tournament."

And the smart money would be on J. Gaudreau to be that guy. Hopefully he kicks serious butt.

Avatar
#2 Jeff Lebowski
December 25 2012, 07:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Which team has the most prospects? Any chance of a breakdown per NHL team? -Merry Christmas!

Avatar
#4 Jeff Lebowski
December 25 2012, 09:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Ryan Pike wrote:

By sheer coincidence, I did a breakdown by team over at The Hockey Writers: http://thehockeywriters.com/2013-world-junior-roster-breakdown-by-nhl-team/

Thanks!

Avatar
#5 Baalzamon
December 25 2012, 09:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Granlund should hopefully do better than last year. Though if he gets 7 points again, that should probably count.

Avatar
#6 T&A4Flames
December 25 2012, 11:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Ryan Pike wrote:

By sheer coincidence, I did a breakdown by team over at The Hockey Writers: http://thehockeywriters.com/2013-world-junior-roster-breakdown-by-nhl-team/

Wow. If Sieloff gets in then we would match other teams for the most prospects in the tourney. Nice... for once.

Also, it's nice to see Granlund on that line with Armia. Armia has looked dominant so far. Wasn't USA supposed to decide their roster by last night?. And Ryan, damn you're dedicated. Thanks for this.

Avatar
#7 Bikeit
December 25 2012, 11:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Taratukhin played for russia in the Olympics and would have been a fine pro for the flames (third line semi skilled forward) had he and his wife not adjusted so poorly to North America. I always thought the Flames may have Handled that one poorly. Having him in the minors in Nebraska and proably not a russian speaker in sight with new kids and his wife home alone. Never knew the scoop on that one.

Avatar
#8 Johny Bones
December 26 2012, 01:07AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Ahh, too bad, Sieloff didn't make it. Aw well, still gonna cheer for both JG's on USA.

Avatar
#9 HongKongHockeyFan
December 26 2012, 01:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Though playing against Germany is not the best measuring stick, Tyler Wotherspoon certainly did not look out place. He seems to have good pace, good positioning and good overall hockey sense. And he had nice goal to boot. It'll be interesting to see how he progresses in the next couple years.

Avatar
#10 Baalzamon
December 26 2012, 01:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Johny Bones wrote:

Ahh, too bad, Sieloff didn't make it. Aw well, still gonna cheer for both JG's on USA.

he hasn't been cut yet. The US has only named a roster of 22 players--they still need 1 more. Sieloff and Grzelcyk are both still in Russia, and neither has been cut. As soon as 1 plays, he's on the team, though, and the other is out.

Avatar
#11 jeremywilhelm
December 26 2012, 02:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Russia was terrible. Terrrrible.

Avatar
#12 bookofloob
December 26 2012, 03:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Just out of curiosity, where does the 6 point benchmark come from?

Avatar
#13 Baalzamon
December 26 2012, 04:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@bookofloob

point per game. Generally, you have 6 games (Finland had 7 for some reason last year)

Comments are closed for this article.