In a year where there were limited opportunities to scout prospects for the upcoming draft, general managers across the league can turn to the IIHF World Championship to watch a few of the best.
"These young players that are over there … I think it's good experience," Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said. "I think it's a good opportunity for some of these young kids to get that experience of playing against men if they were to turn pro in the fall."
Owen Power and Matt Beniers, who are both projected to be picked in the top five, are representing Canada and the United States respectively. Fitzgerald has had the opportunity to watch both of them compete in Riga, Latvia and assess what they'll bring to their NHL franchise.
"(Power is) an impact defenseman," Fitzgerald said. "He's not only handling himself, he's thriving. He's got a bright future … the package of the 6-6 frame, the mobility, the simplicity with the puck, he can do it all."
"(Beniers), first and foremost, is the versatility that he plays with," Fitzgerald said. "He can play wing, he can play center, he doesn't cheat the game. He can add offense but he takes pride in paying without the puck in defense. He's a hell of a prospect. He's a person that obviously our guys think highly of because of the characteristics he brings to the table."
The World Championships are also an important opportunity for some Devils players. With six members of the team playing for four different countries, Fitzgerald is happy about his players getting more playing time after their NHL season ended.
"As far as our own talent, I think it's an opportunity for guys to extend their season," Fitzgerald said. "Nico (Hischier) and (Jonas) Siegenthaler, those players didn't play a lot this year. I thought it was the right move to go over and play and continue to play in those extra games."
Sharangovich, who is the captain for the Belarus squad, had his country's president call and request him to compete in the tournament.
and as Fitzgerald noted: "When you have the president of the country calling you and asking you to please play, you do it."