Two Stars Prospects Playing in World Junior Championship

Wednesday, 12.25.2013 / 1:50 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Two Stars Prospects Playing in World Junior Championship

The 2014 World Junior Championship gets underway in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday. The tournament features some of the top under-20 players in the world from ten countries.

“It’s one of the best tournaments in the world,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “It’s the best players in the world under the age of 20 playing against each other. It’s high level competition. It’s high pressure. Every game is important. So it’s a great tournament for evaluating players.”

Two Dallas Stars prospects are expected to play in the tournament. Center Radek Faksa, Dallas’ first round pick (13th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, will represent the Czech Republic for the third time at the World Juniors. The 19-year-old has four points (two goals, two assists) in 12 games in the past two tournaments.

The 6-3, 213 pound two-way center, who is expected to be a key player for the Czechs, leads the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League in scoring this season with 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 29 games.

Defenseman Esa Lindell, the Stars’ third round pick (74th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, will play for Finland. Lindell, a good puck-moving defenseman, will be playing at his first World Juniors. He was among the last players cut from Finland’s roster for last year’s tournament.

The 19-year-old Lindell has played in the top two levels of Finnish hockey this season, but seems to have settled in with Jokerit of the top league, where he has one goal, a plus-three rating and is averaging 16:07 of ice time in 24 games.

“This is a good opportunity for these guys,” said Nill.

Stars defense prospect Ludwig Bystrom, a second round pick (43rd overall) in 2012, was on Sweden’s preliminary roster for the tournament, but was among the final players cut this week.

2014 draft watch

There will be several top prospects who are eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft playing in the tournament. Among them are F Sam Reinhart (Canada), D Aaron Ekblad (Canada), F Anton Karlsson (Sweden) and F Leon Draisaitl (Germany).There’s also highly touted Canadian forward Connor McDavid, who will be draft eligible in 2015.

The tournament

The ten teams at the tournament are split into two five-team groups. After one round of round-robin play within each group, the top four teams in each group advance to the playoff round.

Team USA won the gold medal last year and is considered among the favorites this year. Canada, Russia and Sweden are among the favorites as well.

Group A: United States; Canada; Czech Republic; Slovakia; Germany

Group B: Sweden; Russia; Switzerland; Finland; Norway

TV coverage

The NHL Network in the United States will be providing coverage of some of the preliminary round games, including all of Team USA’s games. The network will cover all the playoff games, including the gold and bronze medal games. TSN is providing coverage in Canada.

NHL.com is streaming all Team USA games as well.

Thursday’s schedule (Times are Central)
Germany vs. Canada, 6:30 a.m. (NHL Network-US)
Norway vs. Russia, 8 a.m.
Czech Republic vs. United States, 10:30 a.m. (NHL Network-US)
Switzerland vs. Sweden, Noon

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
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10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 53 21 20 12 123 143 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

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2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 54 28 33 16 61
T. Seguin 54 28 30 11 58
J. Klingberg 54 9 35 15 44
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 54 16 24 -1 40
A. Goligoski 54 4 20 17 24
C. Eakin 54 10 13 1 23
M. Janmark 54 10 10 13 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 51 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 14 5 0 .909 2.82
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