The 2017 World Juniors round robin is done, and all five of the Flames prospects playing have made it to the quarterfinals. Each played in all four of their teams’ round robin games, with the exception of Tyler Parsons, who started two games for Team USA while Joseph Woll took the other two.
Four games is a tiny sample size. Then again this entire tournament is a tiny sample size, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun regardless. So let’s take this moment to sum up just how Dillon Dube, Adam Fox, Parsons, Oliver Kylington, and Pavel Karnaukhov have been used – and how well they’ve done in their roles, too.
Dube is what he is this year: a quality depth 18-year-old, and one who will probably have a pretty good shot at playing for Team Canada in 2018, too; hopefully in a bigger role.
In the meantime, over the course of the four round robin games, he’s potted three assists. That doesn’t sound like much, but it actually puts him in a five-way tie for sixth in team scoring, so he’s right in the thick of things. His numbers aren’t amazing, but it’s not like he’s doing nothing for his team, either.
His four shots on goal, however, are pretty low; second worst on Team Canada, alongside three other players.
Ice time is probably a factor, though. So far, he’s played 52:34 over 77 shifts – averaging 13:08 a game – which marks him as one of the least-used players. Among forwards, only Michael McLeod and Anthony Cirelli have played less.
We can probably expect to see more fourth line ice time and penalty killing from Dube in the playoffs portion. He’s doing well in his role right now though, and it’s probably setting him up for a bigger one next year – especially considering that, even with his light usage, he’s still finding a way to be pretty productive, comparatively speaking.
Back at Harvard, Fox is one of his team’s leading scorers, and is one of the top defensive scorers in the NCAA. That’s not quite the case at the World Juniors, though: he has just one assist in four games.
Then again, that’s most of the Americans’ defencemen. Four of them, Fox included, have one assist each; Charlie McAvoy and Casey Fitzgerald have three points each, and Joseph Cecconi has two. Fox is fitting right in with his fellow defencemen, even if his two shots on goal are on the lower end of things (tied for second lowest).
Then again, like with Dube, ice time plays a factor. Fox has played 61:35 over 76 shifts so far this tournament, averaging 15:23 a game. That’s the third lightest ice time for American defencemen through the round robin, ahead of just Jack Ahcan and Cecconi.
But again, like Dube, Fox is 18. He’ll probably be back next year, and he’ll probably get a bigger role then. In the meantime, he’s doing well for what’s being asked of him.
Woll arguably had the toughest test of the round robin by facing Team Canada. Not that the Russians were slouches; just that, well, it was between Canada and USA for top spot in the group after all.
Parsons and Woll won both their games. Parsons did it with a 92.31% save percentage; Woll, 93.48%. Both goalies gave up three goals each, but Woll faced 46 shots to Parsons’ 39.
So who starts for the Americans in the quarterfinals? Hard to say. Woll will probably be back next year, though; Parsons ages out of the tournament after this year.
Skipped over by Team Sweden in 2016, Kylington has established himself as one of their top defencemen this time around. He has two assists through four round robin games; Rasmus Dahlin and Lucas Carlsson have tied him with two points each, while David Bernhardt has three. So Kylington is in the upper half of the Swedish generation of offence from the blue line.
His eight shots on net are tied for second from Swedish defencemen, too; Jacob Larsson has as many, while Bernhardt has 11.
Kylington reigns in ice time, though. He’s played 79:25 over 115 shifts so far, averaging 19:51 a game; he leads all Swedish skaters. The Swedes are definitely making good use of him, and that isn’t likely to stop for the playoffs. This is Kylington’s last year at the tournament.
In four games played, Karnaukhov has a goal and an assist; he’s tied for eighth in Russian scoring. He has five shots on net; that’s tied for 10th.
Karnaukhov has played 58:35 over 85 shifts this tournament, averaging 14:38 a game. That’s seventh amongst Russian forwards.
So all in all, Karnaukhov is about a middling forward for them; however, unlike Dube, he’s 19, and this is his last possible year to play in the tournament. There’s no next year for him; this year isn’t about seeing what they have with him and getting him ready for future endeavours – this is pretty much what we get with Karnaukhov.
Who plays who?
Karnaukhov and Team Russia get the first game against Team Denmark at 11 a.m. on Jan. 2. As impressive as the Danes have been throughout the tournament, they’ll probably be in tough against the Russians.
Kylington and Team Sweden are up after, playing Team Slovakia at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 2. The Swedes are undefeated thus far, and we can probably expect things to stay that way.
Fox, perhaps Parsons, and Team USA get the third game, playing against Team Switzerland at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 2. We can probably expect them to advance.
Finally, Dube and Team Canada play Team Czech Republic at 6 p.m. on Jan. 2. Conventional wisdom says the Canadians win, but things have gone wrong in the not-so-distant past…
Assuming all of the Flames prospects go through – which isn’t that much of an assumption, though we can of course be surprised – then the semifinals would see Karnaukhov face off against Fox and maybe Parsons, while it would be Kylington vs. Dube in the other game.
There’s a pretty good chance most of the Flames’ prospects present come away with a medal. We’ll find out if that’s the case – and along with it, the colours – over the coming days.