Goalies to Watch at the World Juniors

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The World Juniors are set to begin Boxing day and we couldn’t be more excited! It’s a time where goalies can make names for themselves at a tournament by staggering big countries. One of the most recent in memory was Denis Godla for Slovakia, winning the tournament MVP honours with many 40 plus shot games. So who is prepped for making some magic at the tournament this year?

Let’s start with Canada’s two goalies, who are going to be taking one game each in the first two games. Their first real competition came against the Fins, Dipietro had poor showings previously and this was his opportunity to step up, and Scott had been solid in games before. Dipietro played solid against the fins, making some top notch saves and Scott came in and let in some not great goals. Keep a close eye on the battle for starting job, but I think Scott has the edge with his 6’4 frame.

Keep a close eye on the Czech netminder Jakub Skarek (Islanders) who is poised to see a lot of shots. Skarek is playing now for the Lahden Pelicans, his numbers as a 19 year old playing professional hockey are pretty impressive with a .921 save percentage. You can expect him to see most of the games in the tournament, sprinkling in a back up into the mix every now and then. He had a rough outing against the Americans, but he can bounce back when the tourney counts

Swiss goalie Akira Schmid is towering at 6’5 and can move just as fast as any other goalie. His season has been played in a few different places, but has found a home in the USHL. Expect him to play most of the games at the tournament, as he still has a few more years of eligibility at the tournament and they will want to get the most out of him while he’s available.

You guys know Ben Bishop, well Denmark has a goalie that is the same height when standing with him back to back. Mads Sogaard stands at 6’7 and is still so fast and is one of the top goaltending prospects going into the 2019 draft, and the world juniors make names for goalie prospects, that’s for sure. His reflexes and mobility make him a stopgap for the danes as their plan might be to grind out a goal or two and look to Sogaard to shut down the rest of the game. Keep an eye on him.

The Americans are interesting as they have 3 goalies on their roster, two being drafted and ready, they have a draft eligible goalie in Spencer Knight. I would imagine the goalies will each get a game in preliminary and whoever has the best game will be the guy going forward. If I had to pick, I would go with Keyser, good size, great mobility, and has the winning mentality but Primeau is such an exciting goaltender too, we’ll see how this plays out!

Finland has two solid options in net, Filip Lindberg who plays in the NCAA and in 4 games has some impressive stats, or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who is having a good season with the Sudbury Wolves. Luukkonen got the start against the Canadians and stymied them with skill (and some serious luck), so don’t be surprised to see Luukkonen being their starter out of the gate or going back and fourth.

Follow on Twitter and Instagram: @mattnafe

Photo Credit – Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press

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