Bruins future up north - World Juniors 2015

While the Bruins are struggling to keep pace with the rest of the Eastern Conference, their future is showcasing their skill up north in Toronto and Montréal. While everyone is looking at McDavid vs Eichel, three differents B's prospects battle for themselves and their country.

Who needs an introduction of David Pastrnak at this point ? The 18-year old out of Havirov, Czech Republic has already 5 NHL games under his belt, after beeing drafted 25th overall by the B's this summer. Just like the two other prospects at this years WJC, Pastrnak is a product of the highly regarded Swedish youth hockey program. He left his hometown club at the age of 16 to play for 2nd tier team Södertälje, where he played alongside Leafs prospect William Nylander.

The Czech team has been eliminated in the quarterfinals three times in a row, mainly due to their lack of consistency. Last season they beat Canada in the shootout (with a goal by Pastrnak) just for beeing shutout by dead last Germany the following game. This year the Czechs will play in the rather easy group with Denmark and Switzerland, alongside favourites Sweden and Russia.

Captain of the team is defenseman Dominik Masin, a 2nd round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, playing his first season overseas for the Peterborough Petes. Masin lead the countrys Under 18 team to silver at this years World Championship in Finland. Just like linemate Jan Kostalek, Jets 4th round pick in 2013, he's a high scoring offensive defenseman playing in the CHL.

The forward group includes Caps 1st round pick Jakub Vrana, who has 16 points in 23 games for Linköping of the SHL and Czechs own McDavid in Pavel Zacha. The 17-year old playing for the Sarnia Sting, where he's almost a point per game scorer, is ranked top 10 for the upcoming draft class. Unlike most of the Czech forwards he's a big and strong power forward coming in at 6'3''.

Pastrnak will make his way into the Bruins roster, regardless of his and his countrys success at this years World Juniors. He has 27 points in just 23 games, ranking him top 10 in the American Hockey League, a league which is certainly more NHL like than any youth league where he's still eligible to play.

Peter Cehlarik is one of few experienced guys on the Slovakian Team. The 19-year old is playing in his 2nd full season with Lulea of the SHL, where he is a top 5 scorer with 13 points in 29 games.
He also appeared in 6 games of the new formed pan-European Champions Hockey League, in which Lulea has made the semifinals.

Slovakias has struggled to get past the quarterfinals for several years, since winning their only medal in 1999. The only team which came near that success was the 2008-2009 team featuring Tomas Tatar and Richard Panik. Canada needed a shootout to eliminate the Slovaks, who went on to lose the bronze medal game against Russia.

Their lone win last year came in convincing fashion, beating Germany 9-2 to avoid playing against relegation. Slovakia was then eliminated by hosts Sweden in the quarterfinals.
Last years sensation Martin Reway, a 4th round pick by the Canadiens, returns to this years roster as Captain of the team.

Reway scored 4 goals and 10 points in just 5 games at last years WJC, ranking him top 5 for the tournament. After spending two years in the QMJHL for Gatineau (77 points in 52 games in 13-14),
the small winger has returned to his youth club Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga.

Another guy to look forward to is defenseman Erik Cernak, a 17-year old playing his second season in the Slovaks men's league. Cernak already played at the last World Juniors as one of the youngest players ever. The 6'3'' defender is one of the top prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL draft.

For Cehlarik it's all about progress and playing for a Entry-Level Contract, another good tournament (3 points in 5 games 13-14) would certainly help him to achieve that. Slovakia will battle Germany once more in a tough group with Canada, USA and Finland.

Missing last years WJC in his homecountry must have been a great disappointment for Anton Blidh.
Unlike defenseman Linus Arnesson, the Bruins 6th round pick of 2013 was not able to make the team after appearing in 3 exhibition games with them. This year, his hard work has paid off and after two trips to Bruins development camp, he's making his World Juniors debut at the age of 19.

Sweden is arguably Europe's powerhouse when it comes to Youth Hockey, taking home a medal in six of the last seven appearences. They return to Canada with good memories, remembering to Mika Zibanejad's OT winner in the 2011 gold medal game against Russia. Tre Kronor recently lost back-to-back finals against the USA in 2012 and against their arch-rival Finland on home ice.

Last years team captain and WJC MVP Filip Forsberg is not just leading the Nashville Predators in points (32 in 33), but also the Calder Trophy race for the leagues best rookie.
Captaincy has changed to Habs prospect Jacob De La Rose, playing his 3rd World Juniors after making the step overseas to Hamilton this summer.

Their 1st line will likely feature William Nylander, who is a point-per-game player for MODO in the Swedish Hockey League. Center Lucas Wallmark (Canes prospect) also returns as one of last years top scorers behind Forsberg. Ahead of his time might be Rasmus Asplund, the winger just recently turned 17 and is one of the youngest players to ever play in the SHL. This years Under 18 WJC Captain is considered to be one of the top prospects in the 2016 NHL draft.

His teammate at Färjestad, 17-year old defenseman Oliver Kylington will miss the tournament due to an injury. Kylington is listed as top 15 pick in the 2015 draft, beeing the youngest goalscorer in SHL history at the age of 16.

Their defense is build around Flyers Robert Hägg, a two-way defenseman playing in his third WJC.
Canucks 5th round pick Gustav Forsling, comes in as top scoring defenseman at this years Under 18 WJC. The Linköping native is playing in his first season with the big guys and will likely see a lot of powerplay time.

Bruins Anton Blidh will slot in as a 4th linger winger and penalty killer, a position he's used to play for Frölunda. Known for his good work ethics, Blidh will certainly make his way. If we're going to see him in a Bruins jersey one day ? Who knows ...

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