2008 World Juniors

Another edition of the IIHF World Junior Championship is in the books and once again, Canada has taken home the Gold. Pardubice and Liberec in the Czech Republic played host to a fantastic tournament, capped off by the fourth title won by Canada in as many years. The World Juniors is the annual showcase for the world’s best players under the age of 20. Five PuckAgency clients played in the WJC’s: three were members of the Finnish team and two helped Russia earn a Bronze Medal. Let’s take a look at how each of them fared:

Riku Helenius – G – Finland

Riku was in net for Finland for a majority of its tournament play. The 15th overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2006 posted a 2-2 record, accounting for Finland’s only wins of the competition. Riku posted a 3.36 GAA and .864 save percentage in the tournament; his play was highlighted by a shutout of Kazakhstan in the group stage.

Niclas Lucenius – F – Finland

Niclas solidified his reputation as a great offensive talent with his performance in the Czech Republic. His 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) placed him among the tournament’s scoring leaders and tied him for tops on Finland. Lucenius, who helped power the Finnish offense into the medal round with his playmaking abilities, was the Atlanta Thrashers’ 4th round pick from 2007.

Miko Malkamaki – D – Finland

Miko, an undrafted 19 year-old, made his own unique mark on the Finnish blueline. His physical style of play earned him the distinction of accumulating the 2nd most penalty minutes in the tournament with 33. The defenseman for Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga) played in all 6 games for Finland.

Alexei Cherepanov – F – Russia

As an under-aged junior in the 2007 WJHC, Alexei continues to impress scouts by tying for 5th in tournament scoring and propelling Russia to the Silver Medal. After slipping to the New York Rangers with the 17th overall pick in 2007, Alexei entered this year’s tournament with big expectations and all of the attention from opposing defenses that goes with them. Cherepanov missed Russia’s opening game of the tournament against Finland due to illness and bounced back the next day with a goal in a 5-4 win over Kazakhstan. Alexei tallied 3 goals and 3 assists for tournament, including a goal and 2 assists in last Saturday’s game vs. the United States to win the Bronze. “The Siberian Express” hopes to join the Rangers for the 2008-09 season.

Evgeni Dadonov – F – Russia

Dadonov played in all seven games and was a solid contributor to Russia’s team. Evgeni was a 3rd round selection by the Florida Panthers in the 2007 NHL Draft. He currently plays for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Russian Super League. Dadonov is in contact regularly with Vadim Podresov, Florida’s Russian scout, who helps Evgeni get acclimated in the Russian Super League. Florida has high hopes for Dadonov and expects him to come to North America in the near future.