clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

World Juniors 2015: Team Germany preview

New, comment

Ten teams will vie for the gold at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. How has Germany set up its squad to challenge its competitors?

Getty Images

Germany remains in the top division of the IIHF under-twenty tournament after defeating Norway two-games-to-one in a three-game relegation playoff last year. In the 2015 tournament, the team will aim to prove that it belongs at the highest international level, but that prestigious placement will be tested by Group B opponents Slovakia, Finland, the United States, and Canada.

Roster

Player Pos Draft Year* League Current Team
Ilya Sharipov G 2013 MHL EC Salzburg II
Kevin Reich G 2014 USHL Green Bay Gamblers
Florian Proske G 2014 DEL2 Heilbronner Falken
Tim Bender D 2013 DEL EHC München
Dorian Saeftel D 2013 DEL2 Heilbronner Falken
Fabio Wagner D 2014 DEL ERC Ingolstadt
Janik Möser D 2014 NCAA The Ohio State University
Jonas Müller D 2014 DEL Eisbaren Berlin
Patrick Kurz D 2014 DEL2 Ravensburg Towerstars
David Trinkberger D 2014 USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks
Kai Wissmann D 2015 Oberliga FASS Berlin
Markus Eisenschmid F 2013 WHL Medicine Hat Tigers
Marc Schmidpeter F 2013 DEL ERC Ingolstadt
Vladislav Filin F 2013 MHL EC Salzburg II
Nico Sturm F 2013 NAHL Austin Bruins
Frederik Tiffels F 2013 NCAA Western Michigan University
Dominik Kahun F 2013 DEL EHC München
Marc Michaelis F 2013 USHL Green Bay Gamblers
Fabio Pfohl F 2014 DEL Kölner Haie
Parker Tuomie F 2014 USHL Sioux Falls Stampede
Andreas Eder F 2014 MHL EC Salzburg II
Maximilian Kammerer F 2015 MHL EC Salzburg II
Manuel Wiederer F 2015 DEL2 ESF Kaufbeuren

*grey text for undrafted players

The roster will be reduced from twenty-seven to twenty-three after the players are evaluated in pre-tournament games. The final roster with three goalies, eight defencemen, and only twelve forwards has been announced.

Draft Eligible Players

Any player born before September 16th, 1997 is eligible for the 2015 NHL draft.

German defenceman Kai Wissmann is one of three potential final roster players who meet that criterion. At times this season he has played in the top German league—the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, or DEL— and the second-tier DEL2 where he racked up thirty-seven penalty minutes and three points in sixteen games, but now plays in the Oberliga, the German equivalent of the ECHL.

Maximilian Kammerer played forty games in North America for the WHL's Regina Pats last season, in which he scored an unremarkable three points. He had one point in seven games as a seventeen-year-old for Germany's WJC team last year.

Manuel Wiederer, who turned eighteen in November, has put up some very impressive scoring totals in lower-tier Oberliga junior leagues in his career. He contributed five points in six games for Germany at the 2014 IIHF under-eighteen tournament.

Strengths

The preliminary roster has several members of last year's team who can build upon that previous experience, with four defencemen among the returnees. Returning forwards include Frederik Tiffels, who scored two goals and added an assist in the one win Germany had in 2014 against the Czech Republic, and Dominik Kahun, who finished twelfth in tournament scoring with four goals and three assists over seven games of round robin and relegation round play, having a goal differential of plus-four on a team that scored seventeen fewer goals than it allowed.

Markus Eisenschmid has the third-highest points-per-game of all skaters on his division-leading Medicine Hat Tigers, with seventeen points in fourteen games. Germany will hope for that kind of production rather than the one point in seven games he was able to contribute in last year's tournament.

Weaknesses

The Germans will be without the offensive services of the captain of their previous World Junior Championship, Leon Draisaitl, who is staying with the Edmonton Oilers after being drafted third-overall in the 2014 entry draft. Draisaitl scored six points in six games at the 2014 tournament.

The club does not boast much in the way of offensive skill, highlighted by the lack of NHL draftees in the roster table above. The 2014 team managed to put the puck in the net just seven times in the four-game round robin and was shut out in the first game of the best-of-three relegation tournament against Norway before winning the final two.

With only twelve forwards on the twenty-three-man roster, an injury up front could make the already-desperate offensive situation even more dire.

X-Factor

For Germany to have any type of success in the 2015 World Junior Championship, they will need to resort to the strategy most lower-tier teams employ at international tournaments: commit to disciplined, team defence and hope to take advantage of the frustration their opponent shows if that strategy proves effective. Perhaps that is why the roster is skewed toward having more players in the defence and goaltending positions. Germany's best hope is to emerge from a low-scoring game with a one-goal victory.