Ducks Prospects: World Junior Recap

Photo: AP

By Thomas Harrington

The 2020 World Junior Tournament came to an end over the weekend, with Canada taking home the Gold Medal.

For Anaheim’s prospects, it wasn’t a great tournament overall. Before the tournament even started there was bad news, as two of the four prospects who hoped to play were among the final cuts.

Trevor Janicke and Benoit-Olivier Groulx both just missed playing for Team USA and Team Canada. As a result, the Ducks only had two players participate in the tournament: Lukas Dostal and Trevor Zegras. Both the US and the Czech Republic lost in the quarterfinals, so neither player even played in a medal game.

Dostal Battles Illness During Tournament

A year ago, Dostal had a wonderful tournament for the Czech Republic. This year, things didn’t go so well. Once again, he was the starter for the Czech Republic and helped lead them to an upset win over Russia in their first game of the tournament. However, in their second game of the tournament, Dostal and the Czech Republic were upset by Germany. Dostal then missed games against Canada and the United States with an illness. He returned to action against Sweden in the quarterfinal. Unfortunately, he had a poor game, as did the rest of his squad, and Sweden walked all over them, winning 5-0.

Overall, Dostal played in three games and had a record of 1-2, a 4.03 goals against average, and a .878 save percentage. This was the final World Junior tournament for Dostal. Despite his struggles, Dostal is still having a great season in Liiga, and I believe he’ll come to North America next season.

Zegras Shines For Team USA

While Dostal didn’t have a great tournament, Zegras had one of the best tournaments ever by an Anaheim prospect. He actually started on the US’s fourth line and recorded an assist in their first game, a loss to Canada. Next up, the US faced Germany, and Zegras recorded four assists in a 6-3 win. After that performance, he moved up the team’s lineup. Next up, the US faced Russia and skated off with a 3-1 victory. Zegras picked up another two assists in that victory. Against the Czech Republic, Zegras recorded two more assists in a 4-3 overtime win.

Through four games in the preliminary round, Zegras had nine assists, all primary, to lead the tournament in both assists and points. The nine assists were tied for fourth all-time by an American at the World Junior Tournament.

In the quarterfinals, the US faced Finland in a low scoring game where Finland came out on top, by a 1-0 score. Despite not recording any points against Finland and only playing in five games in the tournament, Zegras still finished tied for sixth in tournament scoring and his nine assists were first in the tournament.

Podcast: New Year, Same Ducks?

With the World Juniors over, Zegras will return to Boston University for the rest of the season. Depending on how he develops the rest of the way, he could conceivably turn pro once his freshman year is over, or the Ducks could decide to let him play in the NCAA for one more year before signing him to his entry-level deal. Depending on where he’s playing next year, Zegras could suit up for Team USA again a year from now.

While it wasn’t a great tournament for Anaheim prospects, it was still an exciting tournament and an awesome Gold Medal game. Even though Dostal had a poor showing, he showed that he can excel in a tournament like this last year, so I’m not too worried about him. From an Anaheim perspective, this tournament was really all about Zegras, and he didn’t disappoint. Several of his nine assists made the highlight reels, but he had a spinning backhand pass against the Czech Republic that needs to be seen to be believed.

For more on the Ducks and their prospects click below or visit us at PodomaticSpreaker, or YouTube.

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January 6th, 2019


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