Heading into the games of Dec. 30, the preliminary round of the 2019-20 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic has been quite unpredictable in Group B (USA, Canada, Russia, Czech Republic and Germany) and has gone as expected in Group A (Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Kazakhstan).
Each and every team in Group B has lost at least once in regulation during the round-robin (Russia has lost twice), while Sweden is the only team in either pool that remains undefeated.
Here's a look at how the four participating Flyers prospects have fared in the tournament to date:
Bobby Brink (F, USA):
The Flyers' 2019 second-round pick has played in the bottom six of the Americans' rotation at 5-on-5 but has gotten power play time and made the most of it.
Brink played 12:04 and assisted on the game's first goal but Team USA was unable to hold a 2-0 lead and went down, 6-4, to Team Canada in the tournament's opening game on Dec. 26.
Against Germany the next day, Brink buried a third-period power play goal in a 6-3 win for the Americans. Brink played 13:56 overall. On Dec. 29, Team USA defeated Russia, 3-1. Brink skated 11:14 across 16 shifts.
Cam York (D, USA):
Even in the pre-tournament games, the apparent plan for York -- who was the No. 1 defenseman last year on the USNTDP/ Under-18 national team squad -- was to have him serve an apprenticeship role on the U20 team this year and have him work toward a leading role next year, when he'd be the only potential returnee. Two returnees from last year's roster, K'Andre Miller and team captain Mattias Samuelsson (Kjell's son) plus 19-year-old blueliners Zac Jones, Ty Emberson, Jordan Harris and Spencer Stastney (who will turn 20 on Jan. 4) comprise the primary six defensemen this year for Scott Sandelin's team.
In the game against Canada, York, was afforded a mere five shifts (2:24 TOI) in the game as the team's seventh defenseman. In the first period, he got a single, blink-and-you'll-miss-it "shift" that lasted all of five seconds. In the second period, York got four shifts. He was caught out one on where his line got hemmed in and was chasing the puck in the D-zone. At 11:34, York was called for an interference penalty that Canada's Nolan Foote turned into a 3-2 go-ahead goal on the ensuing Canadian power play.
Against Germany, York skated 10 shifts (7:00 TOI). He had 10 shifts (8:33 against Russia).
Adam Ginning (D, Sweden):
One of the most internationally experienced players in the tournament, the 19-year-old Ginning is playing in his final WJC for Team Sweden and was named team captain.
Ginning skated 15 shifts (11:46 TOI) in Sweden's opening 3-2 overtime win over archrival Finland on Dec. 26. Two days later, in the Junior Crowns' 5-2 win against Switzerland, the defenseman received a boarding penalty and misconduct late in the second period to go along with an earlier tripping penalty. As a result, he only skated 8:09 (15 shifts) in the game. On a brighter note, Ginning assisted on a Karl Henriksson goal that gave the Swedes a 4-0 lead at the time.
On Dec. 30, Sweden dispatched of overmatched Kazakhstan with relative ease.
Egor Zamula (D, Russia):
With the major exception of a statement 6-0 win over Canada sandwiched between regulation losses against Czech Republic (4-3) and Team USA (3-1), the preliminary round has been a disappointment for Russia.
Calgary Hitmen (WHL) defenseman Zamula, however, has been a bright spot throughout for Russia with his ability to move the puck and to create a threat when joining the attack. He scored twice against the Czechs, erasing one-goal deficits both times.
Zamula chipped in an assist and logged 22:38 of ice time (35 shifts) in the big win over Canada. He played 21:36 (35 shifts) in the loss to the Americans.