Forwards: Ovechkin (Rus), Richards (Can), Hensick (U.S.), F Perry (Can), Ruzicka, (Slv)
Defence: Barker (Can), Sekera (Slv), Pervyshin (Rus)
Goal: Rask (Fin)
This is a solid team with the headline act of Ovechkin. I would expect Ruzicka and Perry to help Ovechkin out but don't expect too much out of Richards and Hensick. Defensively, Barker is main attraction but how much of an impact will depend on how much time he gets. Sekera and Pervyshin are both offensive-mind which will help. On a poor team, Sekera may struggle. With the hype around Rask, I got a funny feeling that he might disappoint a few people. With a young team in front of him, it is going to be difficult for him. He is going to have to stand on his head on most nights and consistency hasn't been his strong point this season in the FEL.
The forward crew was picked on past tournament performances with the exception of Lascek. Malkin, Geltzaf, Dawes, Voloshenko has done well in these type of tournaments. GM Ville Isopaa will be expecting more of the same. Defensively, its on of the weaker ones in this competition. However, this writer has a soft spot for the Slovakians and expect things to happen for Sersen. If a goaltender was going to dominate this tournament, I think Schwarz is likely to do it. Many will say Montoya might but then again this is going to be a Fleury vs Lehtonen argument. Don't forget, Schwarz is coming into this tourney with confidence that he can play in the W and form.
I like the thinking in drafting the top line of Finland. Besides these three, only Arsi Pispanen will be counted on. I can't see any other Finnish forward scoring consistently as these three. Olesz and Stewart round out a very solid forward crew. Defensively, only Hedman will score points however with the strength of both russians and canadian teams, +/- could be good for both Coburn and Ezhov as both are expected to feature prominently. The only question mark about this team is goaltending. It is very risky picking Beauchemin as it seems Glass could be the #1. Tenders that are splitting time will not work in this league.
Forwards: Crosby (Can), Carter (Can), Ladd (Can), Bourque (US), Pineault (US)
Defence: Suter (US), Seabrooke (Can), Belle (Can)
Goal: Khudobin (Rus)
If I didn't know who the GM was, I thought this could have a Josh Pitt or Nick Quain kind of team. This is skilled team with mobile defenseman that can play some serious O. Depending on what line Crosby is one and ice time, he might show why he is the best prospect in this years draft. With the depth of the Canadians, I see Sutter using Getzalf and Ladd with Richards to create some havoc but I think with rolling lines and the Sutter style these guys might just have to wait there turn to get on the ice. Bourque and Pineault will be vital in the US cause to defend what they have won. Defensively, this is the best combo in the competition. Suter will be the #1 for the US team, while Seabrooke and Belle will play their part for the Canadian team. Maybe the only weakness could be goaltending. However, if Khubodin can show the form that he did at the recent Remax series, this team could win the whole comp.
This writer has always like what GM Nick Quain has done with his teams and the thinking behind them. Every single forward that has been draft except Parshin are expected to score and heavily plus they have chances on being the #1 point getter for their team. Defensively, I feel they are the second best behind Team Mannarino's. With the form that all three are bringing to the competition, they will be competing for awards at the end of the tourney. Don't forget Montoya who is on a strong USA team. I'm probably one of the few people that thought Montoya had an ok WJC last time round but with another year under his belt, its time he showed me what he is really made of. This team is my early favourite.
This team was put together on the ice, it would be a solid team. Yunkov will probably have a field day passing to these forwards. Expect this guy to top the assist charts by tourney end. Meanwhile Bergeron, Schremp and Fristche to contribute to their team success. Kaspar will help lead the Czech's but it's gonna be tough as he and Olesz will be targeted heavily. Defensively, like many of teams here have one standout. Meszaros is the standout. However, the other two will provide ample support because of the teams they are on. There is going to be stiff competition between this team and Team Epstein. At the moment it seems, Jeff Glass has gotten the nod. If he faulters, GM Epstein will be happy.
So to my final predictions,
1. Team Quain
2. Team Mannarino
3. Team Epstein
4. Team Isopaa
5, Team Keogh
6. Team Otten
As for the best of the rest (players not drafted),
G Jaroslav Halak
D Jakub Kindl
D Boris Valabik
D Teemu Raasko
F Carl Soderberg
F Andrei Kositsyn
F Konstantin Zakharov
F Petr Vrana
F Loui Eriksson
F Drew Stafford
Looks like it will be an interesting pool, gentlemen! Sorry I wasn't able to participate. Looking over the names, I realize how much I've fallen off in my study of prospects... I guess that's what happens when you trade away all your picks trying to build a contender - you don't pay as much attention to the kids! (Can anyone say Cliff Fletcher?)
I'll watch the results with interest...
Great work on the review, Dion! And kudos for Rob and Nick for setting this up, and Nick in particular for (appearing, anyway) to have run the show. Gotta love new "content" for the league!