Last year was an all around success for the Devils at World Juniors. Joey Anderson won gold, McLeod scored a couple in his two minutes of ice time (hyperbole but he barely played), and future Devil Nico Hischier was the talk of the town. Hopefully the Devils prospects can replicate this success this year in Buffalo.
Here is a guide of who is where in Buffalo.
Joey Anderson (United States): Captain America. Joey Anderson was a key role player on last year’s gold medal winning U.S team. This year Anderson returns as captain as the U.S tries to repeat on home soil. Anderson is a versatile forward who can be used in all situations and play up and down the lineup. He does whatever you ask of him and has earned high praise from U.S coach Bob Motzko.
Michael McLeod (Canada): Another returning player. McLeod saw an extremely limited role on the silver medal winning Canadian team. He has missed time this season with an injury but has returned and shown in a handful of OHL games he is up to his normal speed. As an older player McLeod will have a much larger role this year and hopefully he runs with the opportunity. Canada will be a very fast team this year and McLeod could very well be the fastest of them all.
Jesper Boqvist (Sweden): Boqvist is coming off of an arm injury that sidelined him for the first few weeks of the season. Since his return it looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. All the skill and elusiveness is still present in his game. He is an extremely skilled winger who can beat you by skating around you or by stickhandling through you. Hopefully he earns a large role on an excellent Sweden team.
Fabian Zetterlund (Sweden): Zetterlund is a role player. Much like Anderson he can excel up and down the lineup. His game is trademarked by his hardworking style that makes him tenacious on defense. Zetterlund may not be the most skilled guy on Sweden but he definitely has a skillset that will be useful to them throughout the tournament.
Mikhail Maltsev (Russia): Maltsev is a center on Ilya Kovalchuk’s St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL. Maltsev plays a small role as a rookie but it says a lot about him to even be on the team. Pro experience goes a long way so hopefully playing against his own age group will allow for him to gain some added confidence.
Yegor Zaitsev (Russia): Captain of Team Russia, Zaitsev is a lesser known Devils prospect. Zaitsev was an over-ager in last years draft when the Devils selected him in the 7th round. Zaitsev has spent the entire season playing in the KHL and has two assist in 25 games. It is common for younger players to get sheltered minutes but just being able to play at that level is a good sign for him.
Marion Studenic (Slovakia): Studenic is another intriguing prospect. He plays for Hamilton in the OHL and had a very slow start to the season. Then everything clicked and Studenic has been on a roll since. He has shown off his creative playmaking ability as well as his speed. If he can transfer these skills to the NHL like say Jesper Bratt he could be a very successful player in the future.