A Look Back at the 2007 WJHC Part 2
Looking back, boy did the Czech Republic ever have a ton of talent and still only finished fifth in the tournament. I didn't get to see any Czech games, which is sad because they had some very exciting players. Some of the more known Czech players included:
Then: Ondrej Pavelec played five of the six games, garnering two wins against three losses with a 3.28 goals-against-average and 0.890 save percentage.
Now: Pavelec is in what will very likely be a transition year that will see him go from prospect to back up to potential number one by year end. He's played in 67 career NHL games and has a 21-29-9 record along with a 3.25 goals-against-average and has a 0.904 save percentage, all on a struggling team. This year, he sports a very good 2.34 goals-against-average and 0.931 save percentage.
Then: Vladimir Sobotka was the team's leading scorer with eight points in six games.
Now: In his fourth NHL season and with his second team, Sobotka just can't seem to break into the top six. He's miscast as a bottom six guy as evidenced by his 74 points in 68 career AHL games. He has scored only 25 points in 144 NHL games. He is one to watch if he ever subs in for an injured top six and starts to score.
Then: Michael Frolik finished with four goals and six points in six matches.
Now: The 22-year-old is in his third NHL season and has 98 points in 173 games. He tore up his last two years of junior (QMJHL) recording 138 points in 97 games. Frolik is from the same hometown as Jaromir Jagr and as such has been called Baby Jagr. The kid has huge upside.
Then: Martin Hanzal recorded three points in six games.
Now: Hanzal is in his fourth NHL season, all with Phoenix and has 103 points in 236 games. He's never played a game in the AHL and has only one season of Canadian Major Junior hockey to his credit, recording 85 points in 60 WHL games. Hanzal's career NHL high is only 35 points and he won't be breaking out this season, not if he continues to log the ninth most power play time. He does average nearly 18 minutes of ice time per game.
Then: Jakub Voracek scored three points in six games who was at the time undrafted.
Now: Taken seventh overall by Columbus in 2007, Voracek had a 38 point NHL rookie season and followed that up with a 50 point campaign last year. This year, he is off to a nice start, recording nine points in 14 games. In his only two years of Canadian Major Junior hockey, Voracek scored 187 points in 112 games. The future is very bright.
Then: Jakub Kindl was the leading scorer on the Czech blueline with four points in six contests.
Now: Over his last two OHL seasons, he recorded 113 points in 114 games. Kindl followed that up with a 17 point AHL debut and then back-to-back 33 point AHL seasons. Not surprisingly, Detroit is bringing him along slowly and the 23-year-old has yet to find the offensive game at the highest levels of play. The jury is still out on his future as a fantasy player.
Finland lost to the Czechs to finish sixth in the tournament. I never got to see Finland play any games live while in Sweden. Here were some of their top players:
Then: Mikko Lehtonen finished in a three-way tie for the tournament scoring lead with 10 points.
Now: The Bruins drafted the 6'5" Finn in the third round, 83rd overall in 2005. Following the 2007 World Junior tournament, Lehtonen played two professional seasons in Finland, recording a combined 35 points in 81 matches. He then came over and played two seasons in the AHL recording 53 and 50 points seasons. This year, he is currently with Skelleftea of the Swedish league and is second in league scoring with 23 points in 19 games. Who knows if he'll ever come back?
Then: Perttu Lindgren also finished tied for top scorer with 10 points.
Now: The Dallas draft pick (3/75 in 2005) spent the next four years bouncing between the Finnish league and AHL. In 2006-07, he recorded 26 points in 43 games for Ilves, then in 2007-08, he scored 34 points in 69 AHL games. He then went back to Finland and had 24 points in 49 games and last season he recorded 47 points in 74 AHL games. He's currently playing for Lukko Rauman in Finland where he leads the league in scoring with 28 points in 21 games.
Then: Oskar Osala had five goals and eight points in six games.
Now: The year after he scored 35 points in 53 games in Finland, not an easy feat for a young player in that league. He crossed the Atlantic and played two seasons in the AHL, recording 37 and 42 points. The 6'4" winger was initially drafted by Washington in the fourth round in 2006 and traded to Carolina as part of the Joe Corvo deal at the trading deadline last season. He's still finding his way and sits fifth in scoring on Charlotte with 11 points in 17 AHL games.
Then: Tuukka Rask played in six games, winning two and taking the loss in four of them. He had a 3.43 goals-against-average and 0.887 save percentage.
Now: Rask was taken by Toronto with the 21st overall pick in 2005, then was promptly traded for Andrew Raycroft in 2006. Leafs fans must cringe every time they see Rask play. Rask has a 60-33-6 record with a 2.43 goals-against-average and a 0.911 save percentage over his AHL career. He's 25-17-7 with a 2.07 goals-against-average and 0.929 save percentage so far in his NHL career.
Then: Defenseman Teemu Laakso was the tournament bad boy, logging 52 minutes in penalties. He also found the time to score five points in the six games.
Now: After the World Junior tournament, the Nashville prospect played two seasons in Finland, scoring 19 points in 103 games and 110 penalty minutes. He then played two seasons in the AHL, where he put up 22 points and 92 penalty minutes in 88 games. The 23-year-old is currently having a very good season in Milwaukee with seven points and only six penalty minutes in 11 games. Nashville sure can pick top quality defensemen.
Still to come:
Part Three - USA
Part Four - Sweden and Russia
Part Five - Canada
12 Team "Experts" Roto representing Dobberhockey 2nd
G,A,PPP,+/-,SOG,Hits,Blocks,Wins,GAA,SV% - Keep 4
12 Team Salary Cap Roto Dynasty 3rd (G,A,Pts,FPts,DPts,Pim,SOG,H,BS,W+OTL+SO,GAA,SV%)
12F-Ovechkin,Kopitar,P&E Kane,Kessel,Ryan,M&N Foligno,Ennis,Hodgson,Killorn,Horton,Wolski,Morrow ,Bonino