DAY 1 BEGINS FOR SEVEN FLYERS PROSPECTS
Management, scouts and fans throughout the hockey world will collide today in Helsinki, Finland as the 2016 World Junior Tournament kicks off its 11-day schedule.
Just how big is the tournament for prospects? Flyers director of scouting Chris Pryor weighs in:
“It’s a big tournament,” said Pryor. “Everybody knows who’s been across the border - in Canada it’s huge. They start this thing with the selection process in early December and it’s 24/7 on all the networks. It’s a big deal. As it is in all the other countries."
Which brings us to the Flyers prospects. The club has SEVEN (7) draft picks competing in the tournament for five countries. It is the most in franchise history, as well as tied for the most of any team in the NHL this year - with the Arizona Coyotes.
Representing Canada are: Defenseman Travis Sanheim (2014, 1st round, 17th overall) and right wing Travis Konecny (2015, 1st round, 24th overall).
Representing the Czech Republic: David Kase (2015, 5th round, 128th overall).
Representing Russia: Ivan Provorov (2015, 1st round, 7th overall and Radel Fazleev (2014, 6th round, 168th overall).
Finally, for Team Sweden: Goaltender Felix Sandstrom (2015, 3rd round, 70th overall) and forward Oskar Lindblom (2014, 5th round, 138th overall).
“It’s a big platform and it’s a great opportunity for the kids to go against their peer group and see where their game is at - not only from a country standpoint, but also from an individual standpoint,” added Pryor. “It gives us a chance to see our [prospects] in a situation where they’re playing against pretty good players and pretty good competition.”
Kase, Provorov and Lindblom will be competing in the tournament for the second time, while the others will get their first taste on the world’s highest junior stage.
Going back in recent years, a Flyers defense prospect has won the gold medal in two of the last three championships: Sam Morin (CAN: 2015) and Shayne Gostisbehere (USA: 2013). Also on defense, a Flyers draft pick has won a medal in each of the last three years with Robert Hagg winning Silver in 2014 with Sweden.
To get you up to speed on the tournament, and how it unfolds, below is the ‘need to know’ information on the rules and format.
There are 10 countries competing in the tournament (Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA) which are divided into two, five-team groups in the Preliminary Round.
The teams play a single round-robin series in each group. The top four teams from each group advance to the Playoff Round. The top four placed teams from the Preliminary will play a cross-over Quarterfinal game: 1A vs. 4B, 1B vs. 4A, 2A vs. 3B and 2B vs. 3A. The winner of each Quarterfinal moves onto the Semi-Finals.
Overtime & Shootout Formats
During the round robin: a 5-minute, 4-on-4 overtime is played which is followed by a shootout if no goal is scored.
During the elimination/playoff round: a 10-minute, 4-on-4 overtime is played which is followed by a shootout if no goal is scored.
During the GOLD MEDAL game: a 20-minute, 4-on-4 overtime is played which is followed by a shootout if no goal is scored.