As one of the biggest tournaments involving the NHL’s next stars began on Boxing Day, here’s a list of six underrated prospects to keep an eye on.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Canada
Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, #41 overall in 2017
He was stellar during the exhibition games, and I expect him to do the same during the tournament. His intelligence with and without the puck will make him indispensable for Canada’s success. More of a goal-scorer than a playmaker, Anderson-Dolan is tenacious around the net and on the forecheck.
He’s currently centring Canada’s second line with Montreal’s Nick Suzuki and 2020 NHL Draft top-prospect Alexis Lafrenière. Keep an eye on this line. During the exhibition games, they earned five points and just kept getting better.
Jakub Lauko, C, Czech Republic
Drafted by the Boston Bruins, #77 overall in 2018
Lauko, who entered his first year playing North American hockey with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, has currently picked up 26 points in 25 games — most of them amassed at even strength. An international tournament like the World Juniors will give him even more opportunities to lighten up offensively, and he could surprise a lot of people with a loaded team offensively featuring Martin Necas, Filip Zadina, and Martin Kaut. He’s a quick, agile scorer with outstanding speed and a great offensive upside.
Nando Eggenberger, LW, Switzerland
2019 Draft-eligible prospect
Eggenberger is a power forward with smooth hands, strong puck possession, and good scoring abilities. While his playmaking ability may not be on point, he can be used in any situation due to his size, excellent positioning, and ability to read plays. Playing on one of the weakest teams of the tournament, Eggenberger should see a lot of ice time and for a dynamic player like him, it should only be a benefit.
Joel Farabee, LW, USA
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers, #14 overall in 2018
Farabee is a dangerous playmaker with outstanding vision who anticipates the play at another level. While he still needs to add a bit to his frame, his offensive talent and work ethic are undeniable. He never quits during a shift and always gives his best, making him a difficult player to play against. One of the best skaters in the 2017 Draft class, he does everything perfectly on the ice. He was the second-best scorer during USA’s exhibition games with three points.
Samuel Fagemo, RW, Sweden
2019 Draft-eligible prospect
A complete goal-scorer with a quick release who generates a lot of opportunities, Fagemo went undrafted in 2018 because of an injury and his lack of consistency. He picked up 14 points (5G, 8A) in eight games in the SuperElit U20 league before being called up to Sweden’s top league, the SHL, where he is ranked seventh in points despite being the youngest forward, and having missed some games.
Anton Lundell, C, Finland
2020 Draft-eligible prospect
One of the few 17-year-olds present in this tournament, Lundell is an intelligent offensive-minded centre with an impressive skill set, top-end speed, and a high ceiling. He’s mature for his age and is even more effective defensively. Remember his name — you’ll hear it a lot in the coming years.