The Toronto Maple Leafs may be on hiatus, but some of their prospects are keeping busy at the World Juniors.
As I wrote about the other day, the Toronto Maple Leafs have three prospects at this years World Juniors and all should play a key role for their countries if they are to make it far.
I also predicted big performances from all three. So, How have things been so far?
Despite winning both contests, it’s been slightly underwhelming for our pair of Fins after two games:
Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects at the World Juniors
As predicted, Niemela has been a key player for Finland at this tournament so far. In both games he’s logged over 21:30, logging 22:11 against Austria even though he took two minor penalties. He’s only scored a single goal so far and no assists but this could change and things are clearly happening when he’s on the ice as he’s a +6 over the tournament as of now. Let’s hope he can pick up his offensive production over the next few games and let’s hope Finland can finish in the gold medal game.
Also as predicted, Hirvonen has been a key player for Finland as well. He’s also logging big minutes comparatively, playing 14:17 in their first game and 15:17 in their second game. Also like Niemela, it hasn’t resulted in much success on the score sheet.
Through two games, Hirvonen hasn’t scored a goal and only has one assist to show for his effort. Again, this could easily change over the coming games and for the Finnish teams fortunes, let’s hope it does.
Now, the Americans have only played one game in the tournament so far. Also, it just broke today that they will forfeit their second game as there has been more than one player who has tested positive for Covid-19. Let’s hope this doesn’t derail USA’s tournament as they’re poised to really make some noise and defend their gold medal from last year. Let’s also hope this doesn’t effect any other team at the tournament either. However, let’s recap Knies’ performance so far.
Making his World Juniors debut, Knies opened the scoring in the first period, scoring a one-timer goal on a setup from teammate Logan Cooley. He went on to play 15:17 in the 3-2 win over Slovakia. He’s a dark horse candidate to be a leading scorer for the US at this tournament and if he can finish on his chances like he did his first game, it’s very much a possibility.
That’s it so far, hopefully we get answers about the USA team soon and they can play their next game against Sweden on Wednesday at 9:30pm est.