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2018 IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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So, this year the IIHF World Championships are in Buffalo, NY, if you happened to want to buy some last minute tickets. And this thing just started. It's on. Specifically all games on are the NHL network.

 

Last year the Canes had 4 guys in the Tourney: Bean, Gauthier, Roy and Kuokkanen. Kuok and Bean are back as key members of their teams.

 

This year we have three: Bean, Kuokkanen and Necas.

 

These are clearly three of our best prospects and this is a chance to see them vs. peers.

 

Here are links:

 

http://www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/

 

Here's a link to the schedule:

 

http://teamusa.usahockey.com/worldjuniors2018

 

The Czecs and Necas are playing as I type this.

 

My thoughts: two years ago Sebass Aho broke out in this tournament. Last year our guys looked good, but not sure there was a breakout. Kuok and Bean though were underaged. Kuok was a 4th liner on a pretty bad Finn team, and Bean logged a lot of minutes, and was steady, but did not put up a lot of points.

 

I wan to see all three guys put up points.

 

1. Necas. It's very hard to follow Necas in his European League. Necas has breakaway speed, and skill at speed, but has he put up lots of points? He should be the clear best player on his team, but he needs to score.

 

2. Kuokannen: Barely noticed him last year in this tourney. But man did I notice him here this year. Traverse, Camp, NHL games, and Charlotte. He is the 1C of the Finns best line. If the Finns do well, gotta think Kuok is a big part of it.

 

3. Bean. Can't help but think of "what have you done for me lately?" Bean looking befuddled in the NHL pre-season. He is supposed to have offensive chops. Well, now that he is a veteran WJC guy, want to see some offense in this tourney from Bean. Let that be the latest image of him.

 

BTW on his same team is Makar. You want to see dazzling offensive skills in an underage D man? This guy is the guy we all dreamed Ryan Murphy could have been.

 

So anyways. Looking forward to watching our three guys.

 

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Kuokkanen and Bean faced off for a 4-2 Canada win.

 

Kuokkanen had 23+ minutes of ice time, did not register a point, was not scored on, and didn’t register a shot. A bunch of zeros on his score sheet. Kuokkanen had 29 shifts of an average of 48 seconds a piece.  Solid conditioning.

 

Bean had almost 17 minutes of ice time, didn’t register a point, had 1 shot, and went plus 1.  He had 25 shifts, so really quick hitting shifts for Canada.

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Thanks gocanes! I thought Necas looked fast out there and they ran a lot of the PP through him. I only caught the beginning of Finland/Canada. That's a lot of ice time for a forward for Kuok though.

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Kuokkanen hasn’t had a memorable WJC.  An assist so far.

 

Necas on the other hand is doing well.  He had an assist against Belarus and was plus one despite Belarus scoring 5.  He scored another goal and another assist against Switzerland.  He definitely looks like a playmaker center.  

 

Bean is having a decent time.  For the most part Canada has overwhelmed most other teams.  So I have a hard time judging his play so far.

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Funny I was about to post something similar gocanes. I've tried to watch the shifts by Kuok and Necas. Bean? Too much hockey to watch. Though I can say that in this tourney Makar is the d man eye grabber. I still like Bean's long term future, and still maintain that he will need Charlotte time. Not that this is a huge problem. It did Fleury a world of good, even if he is on a prolonged vacation at the moment.

 

Kuok looks really slick in places but not dominant. It's funny because this is a guy who made things happen at the NHL level. No, not an elite scorer, but created chances. One would assume he'd dominate in Juniors, but I agree I haven't seen that.

 

Necas, on the other hand, is inspiring. He literally skates circles around his peers. He skates fast and makes good quick decisions. He is noticeably good. And while I'm not sure many people come read this section of our message boards, for those still reading this: Craig Button gave me a thrill when he said Necas reminds him of Mark Scheifele. That is elite 1C territory.

 

It is hard to follow Necas in his league back home, so it is really good to see him eyeball as elite vs. many of the best age-similar players in the world.

 

I still like Kuok to make the NHL, but Necas has elite upside. We need elite.

 

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Exactly Rem.  I believe it would be a mistake to play Necas on the wing.  We need him to start at Center. A short Charlotte stint would be best at the number 1 center position.  

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Our scouts had in the top 5.  Pitkanen has done really well for us.  

 

Necas can add about 20 good LBs he’ll be ready.  Staal-Aho (a heavier Aho), Necas (sometime next season), and Wallmark down the middle looks pretty solid to me.

Edited by gocanes0506

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Thanks for the link Caniac514.

 

A couple of thoughts. In general I look at these tournaments as a chance to shine rather than an indictment if one doesn't. 

 

That said, though, of our guys, this is clearly the Martin Necas show, and while I'd have liked to see more from our other guys, I'd rather have one breakout and some uninspiring ones than a bunch of ho hum performances. We only have 3 guys this year too.

 

Anyway, Martin Necas has been alluded to here already. At this point he is tied for #1 in assists, #2 in points and #9 in goals. He and Philip Zedina (a name likely climbing way up the draft board for next year) are carrying a Czec team that is usually out by now, still in the semi finals now (about to take on Canada in a few hours). I have to think that Necas is even more impressive in that other teams have to be keying on shutting that line down. It will be interesting to see what chances they can generate vs. a loaded Team Canada. Anyway, Necas is having a very nice breakout in this Tourney. Similar in effect, though different in style to the breakout S. Aho had, which ended up playing a role in him being inked into the Cane's lineup before stepping foot in Raleigh. (Aho had the advantage of being a three zone stud, but this has to help Necas' chances of a direct to NHL move next year).

 

Kuokkanen has had a tougher go of production. He doesn't look bad at all, and was Finland's 1C. Clearly the Finns value him, he was an underage guy who made the team last year too. But he just hasn't had the kind of point production of a breakout tourney. In fact Kuok has not broken the top 20 in goals or assists. For what it's worth, I still like him as a player, but the Canes are becoming the type of team that a prospect needs to elevate above the crowd to get the kind of look that gets you an NHL slot. This tourney did not do that for Kuokkanen. He'll go back to Charlotte, and at this point, with all the prospects there, likely need to wait until next year to try to show his stuff. Of course next year so will Necas, Foegele, and many others.

 

Bean. I can't help but be disappointed by Bean. Don't get me too wrong. The guy made team Canada twice. He is still a very good prospect. But this was the guy we took ahead of a needed forward fairly high in the draft in part because we thought his offensive upside was so huge. But he is not even in the top 20 in points based on goals over assists. He has 2 points, no goals. Again, this is a 5 game sample, so this is not the end of the world. But Bean was there last year, so I really hoped he'd at least rack up some assists in his second go-around. And the guys with the elite offensive pedigree are scoring. Bean also looked utterly overwhelmed in NHL camp and preseason.

 

Just to be clear, this sort of "set back" (probably too strong of a term really) for Bean does not mean he won't develop into a very nice D man. In our development camp he stood out and was at times toying with lesser prospects. All of this play at this level of competition has to help. And to be fair, I am not watching him. (If anyone has, please chime in). He could be playing very well, just not getting the bounces. I still have high hopes for Bean, but I was just hoping he'd break out. Hey, he still has a couple of games left in this tourney.

 

My take overall is still very positive because of Necas. He continues to look like the real deal. I still like Bean and Kuok as very good prospects, but neither seems to have broken out in this tournament.

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Yeah pretty good showing for the Czechs really. Canada wins it all again. Bean just not really much of a factor to my eye, but then admittedly I fast forwarded a lot.

 

Another quote during the Czech - Canada game. One of the announcers said he talked with someone in the know who said that a lot of other team's people told us after we picked Necas that we got a good one that they had ranked much higher also.

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