TORONTO/MONTREAL – While projected No. 1 overall pick Nolan Patrick will be unable to participate for Canada in this year’s World Juniors. Even with the absence of Patrick, there will still be plenty of talent to focus this upcoming winter. Showcasing the top five players to look at,
Eeli Tolvanen – Finland
Eeli Tolvanen took a route that is not common among European-Born skaters. The Fin is currently playing for the Sioux City Muskateers in the USHL, and is committed to Boston College for the 2017-2018 season. Tolvanen is a pure offensive juggernaut, with already wielding a NHL-Level release. At a small frame of 5’10, Tolvanen is still very strong on the puck. It will be quite the treat to witness Tolvanen’s first glimpse on a big stage.
Kristian Vesalainen – Finland
The Fins are continuing to produce big, strong wingers, such as Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrick Laine, and now Kristian Vesalainen. The 6’3 winger showed promise at the World Junior Showcase this most recent summer, and was a projected top 5 pick coming into the season, but has tailed off this season with the Frolunda Indians in the Swedish Elite League.
Nico Hischier – Switzerland
A projected top 10 pick, Hischier will be relayed heavily to perform well for a pretty weak Swiss team. Hischier had been spectacular for the Halifax Mooseheads this season, tallying 48 points in only 31 games of action. Hischier has already shown promise for the Swiss, scoring 2 goals against Canada in the pre-tournament match up.
Elias Pettersson – Sweden
Pettersson is a versatile forward that plays both ends of the ice very well. Pettersson has been a point-per game player playing for Timra in Sweden’s second division. Pettersson will have the opportunity to showcase his offensive ability as Sweden is filled with offensive talent, and his experience playing with men will show this upcoming tournament.
Jake Oettinger – United States
The only goaltender to make the list, Oettinger has great length at 6’4 and has very good poise between the crease. Starting as a freshman at Boston University, if Oettinger gets the opportunity to start between the pipes, and performs well, he might be the first netminder taken in the draft.