International Ice Hockey Federation

The ones to watch

The ones to watch

Players who could impress in the 2013 tournament

Published 19.04.2013 16:45 GMT+4 | Author Sochi Test Events News Service, STENS
The ones to watch
Left to right: Left to right: JT Compher, Valeri Nichushkin, and Artturi Lehkonen are among a handful of players who could make a big impact in the knockout stage of the U18 World Championship. Photos: Jana Chytilova, Andre Ringuette, Richard Wolowicz
The IIHF Under-18 World Championship brings together some of the top international players in this age group to compete in a pressure-packed event.

Most players in the 10-team tournament are eligible for the National Hockey League (NHL) draft. With the 2013 NHL draft taking place on 30 June, this tournament is the last chance for players to showcase their on-ice skills and bump up their draft stock. With this in mind, nearly 200 scouts representing 30 NHL clubs will be in the stands throughout the championship to scrutinise the prospects.

Here is a list of some of the players to watch:

Andre BURAKOWSKY (SWE) is a 186cm forward who plays for Malmo in Sweden's second-tier Allsvenskan league. Known for his offensive skills, he is one of the top-ranked Europeans in the NHL draft and is ranked in the top 20 prospects, according to several scouting reports.

JT COMPHER (USA) plays centre in USA Hockey's National Training Development Program, a successful development stream that has produced Olympians and stars in the NHL and European leagues. At 183cm and 73kg, and with great strategic awareness, he is considered a top-ranked prospect in the upcoming NHL draft, and will be a key cog in the U.S. machine as the country goes for its eight U18 gold medal.

Artturi LEHKONEN (FIN) somewhat undersized for a left-winger at 179cm and 69kg but remains a major scoring threat with excellent puck control. He has potential to be an impact player at the next level.

Eighteen-year-old Valeri NICHUSHKIN (RUS) plays left wing for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He is big and strong, skillful with the puck and considered a top-five pick in the NHL draft. He was whisked in by private jet early on Thursday after his KHL team lost the final to Dynamo Moscow.

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Pavel BUCHNEVICH (RUS) plays left wing for Severstal Cherepovets. He was the youngest player on the Severstal junior team, but ranked third in points, collecting 19 goals and 32 assists in 55 games.

Eighteen-year-old Alexander PISARIK (CZE) has tremendous skills with the puck and great intuition on the ice. He is the top Czech Republic defenceman on the roster and has captained the national under-20 team.

Dominik Kubalik (CZE) plays left wing for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. He scored 34 points in 67 games during the 2012/2013 season and was the highest ranking player from the Czech team, according to a recent scouting report. He won the Czech under-16 championship with HC Plzen in 2010.

If there is one name to watch in the Swiss team, it would be Mirco MULLER (SUI). MULLER, who moved to the Canadian Hockey League in August, is a scoring defenceman known for his movement around the ice.

In addition, there are two players eligible for the 2015 draft worthy of mention:

Jack EICHEL (USA) despite being a couple of years younger than most of his teammates, Eichel is not fazed by the age difference. He feels confident that both his skills and the team's will lead to a fifth straight gold medal.

Connor McDAVID (CAN) made a seamless jump to Canadian major junior hockey from the ranks of youth hockey. He is an offensive star, who plays with confidence and poise.



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