Handicapping the Flames World Junior candidates

When it comes to the upcoming World Junior Championship tournaments, there’s good news and bad news for the Calgary Flames. They won’t have anybody playing for Canada or the United States, but they’re likely to have players playing for a slew of European countries.

Norway has already announced 2018 sixth round selection Mathias Emilio Pettersen as part of their Division 1 World Junior roster. Several other recent draft picks are contenders to represent other countries.

Martin Pospisil (Slovakia)

The first of three Flames fourth rounders in the 2018 NHL Draft, Pospisil is a strong contender to represent Slovakia in the World Juniors this season. He’s in the midst of a breakout season with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers after struggling with staying out of the penalty box last season.

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Pospisil played for Slovakia at the Under-18 Worlds in 2016-17 – alongside future Flames picks Milos Roman and Adam Ruzicka – and Slovakia had USHLer Samuel Bucek on their World Junior roster last season, so it’s not like there’s not a fit or precedent for him going. Seven of Slovakia’s 12 forwards from last year’s World Juniors won’t be back due to age, so the door is open for new faces.

Milos Roman (Slovakia)

The third of three Flames fourth rounders in the 2018 NHL Draft – the second was American-born forward Demetrios Koumontzis – Roman is a pretty safe bet to play for Slovakia at the World Juniors. He’s off to a good start to his season with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants and he’s played for Slovakia’s national teams at virtually every major tournament in recent years – including last year’s World Juniors. It would be a big shock if he wasn’t on their roster.

Adam Ruzicka (Slovakia)

The Flames’ fourth round pick in 2017, Ruzicka isn’t out to a blazing start to the season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting – only a point per game through 25 games – but he seems another safe bet to play for Slovakia. He’s played for Slovakia at two consecutive World Juniors, including once as a 17-year-old, and he’s been a regular on their international teams dating back to being their U16 national team’s captain as a 15-year-old. As with Roman, he’s a virtual lock.

Filip Sveningsson (Sweden)

After a quiet first post-draft season, Sveningsson has transitioned to the secondary HockeyAllsvenskan pro league and really made a case for himself for Sweden’s national team. He’s played international games for Sweden in each of the past five seasons, including representing them at the World Under-17 Challenge in 2015-16. He’s off to a great start to the season with IK Oskarshamn and played for Sweden at the recent Four Nations Cup, so he’s definitely in the mix. The challenge for him will be the sheer number of high-end Swedish forwards available, but he should be commended for forcing his way into the conversation at the very least after being the Flames’ seventh rounder in 2017.

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Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Russia)

Another seventh round pick (in 2018), Zavgorodniy has been a revelation for many of those that follow and cover the Flames. While not a large player, he’s been an offensive machine for the Rimouski Oceanic in his second season in North America. He has a strong chance to represent Russia, particularly given that he played at the World Under-18s last season and was on the Russian roster for the Quebec component of the annual Canada-Russia Series. He knows the coaches and has scored a ton on the smaller North American ice – the World Juniors are in Vancouver and Victoria on the small ice this year – so he’ll get a lot of consideration for those reasons.

  • MDG1600

    In summary then we have 1 prospect who might be good enough to make a team with a strong roster and a few other prospects likely to make the roster of fringe teams and a team that is not good enough to play in the A pool.

    yahoo I guess….

    • tank_06

      Because all our Good picks have graduated right to the NHL. They didn’t have a first least year but hamonic is turning out fantastic this year. Three only really need pick we lost was the third to re sign stone. Your right el Cid he is a genius. Especially when compared to the tire fire up north

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        It’s crazy how in denial some Oilers fans are, every time I hear Chiarelli talk I am so thankful we have a capable GM in Treliving. Chiarelli’s interviews at best seem completely out of touch and at worse he seems over medicated, even sedated (as someone who has struggled with mental health in the past he is battling something, be it depression, alcoholism, etc. It’s obvious the signs are all there). Trading away league MVPs for 6-7 Defenceman are the least of his worries. If you don’t believe me just watch his interviews, it’s sad to be honest. I remember when he was interviewed at the U18s a couple of years ago and he didn’t even know Tyson Josts name, soemone who was about to be a surefire Top. 10 Pick. You’d think a GM would at least learn the names of the Top. 10 picks, especially the Oilers GM. When his career is over he’ll go down with Milbury (who was undiagnosed bio-polar back in his NYI days), as the worst GM in history. Trading away Seguin, Kessel, Hall, Eberle, etc for nothing is actually so bad it’s impressive. Oilers fans deserve better, but I don’t even think they can admit that anymore.

        • Justthateasy

          Well I guess giving away all those stars kind of evens up for all the high draft picks that they have acquired. Teams like the Flames who don’t tank have done it the hard way. Oilers fans do not deserve better. Maybe only in a sense because they’ve endured the tanking philosophy and sucking for so many years.
          Imagine if they were a head and shoulders team above the rest of the league because of those undeserved draft picks. Thank you hockey gods.

    • Hockeysense9393

      They are all later round picks, are they not? It’s not to shabby a look for where all these players were found. If one of these guys makes it, it’s a great bonus. To have so much extra attention for our prospects, playing in more meaningful games for a different type of glory…is pretty good kudos on those kids. There are an umteenth amount of players not going. It will only add to the whole hockey “mentality” game.

      • oilcanboyd

        They go to training camp perform to the best of their ability and if they perform in the top 22 and make the team – bonus! Didn’t matter if they were picked first overall (Yakupov-lmao) or in the 4th to 7th rounds.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    If soemone went and did a re-draft right now of last years draft based off of NHLe the Flames would honestly have three Top. 30 players (Pospisil, Pettersen, Zavgorodniy). That would be interesting, I might do it for fun this week. Pospisil and Pettersen are both tracking as Top. 10 I think right now according to NHLe.

  • Hockeysense9393

    NWell I think this is mainly Button and his scouting staff, but kudos on a GM that actually has the smarts to listen and react. He puts a lot of trust in his staff I’m sure.

  • oilcanboyd

    Slovakia schedule preliminary round:

    Dec 26 4:30 PM vs USA
    Dec 27 4:30 pm vs Sweden
    Dec 29 4:30 pm vs Finland
    Dec 30 8:30 pm vs Khazakstan
    All games in Victoria for the Slovaks.

    Pretty tough Grouping. Looking forward to watching how our guys perform!