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2021 World Junior Hockey Championship: Team Germany preview & roster

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With a roster decimated by COVID-19, the Germans are happy there is no relegation this year.

Finland v Germany - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

When the IIHF decided to go ahead with its plan to hold the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship, the concern was how so many teams, with so much personnel, were going to travel from all across North America and Europe to enter the bubble in Edmonton, Alberta.

Several teams dealt with COVID-19 issues earlier in the fall, and those players recovered in time to attend the tournament. Sweden was forced to scramble in the days leading up to their departure to replace players, trainers, and an entire coaching staff that has tested positive, but did get a squad together.

Germany experienced what many feared would happen: a full-blown breakout upon landing in Canada. The tests confirmed eight positive cases among the players, which were reported on December 18. The club entered quarantine, which was set to last until December 24: the day before their tournament officially begins.

As of now, the roster lists all 25 players who made the trip, but we will learn when the imposed quarantine ends how many are available for Friday’s game.

Team Germany final roster

# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
29 Florian Bugl G AlpsHL Red Bull Hockey Juniors
30 Jonas Gahr G DEL2 Löwen Frankfurt
1 Arno Tiefensee G DEL Adler Mannheim
5 Lucas Flade D DEL2 Dresdner Eislowen
22 Maximilian Glotzl D DEL Kolner Haie
3 Simon Gnyp D DEL Kolner Haie
6 Niklas Langer D DEL Augsburger Panther
27 Luca Munzenberger D DNL U20 Kolner Junghaie
17 Steven Raabe D DEL Grizzlys Wolfsburg
4 Maksymillian Szuber D AlpsHL Red Bull Hockey Juniors
25 Mario Zimmermann D DEL2 EV Landshut
28 Manuel Alberg F AlpsHL Red Bull Hockey Juniors
20 Jakub Borzecki F AlpsHL Red Bull Hockey Juniors
14 Julian Chrobot F DEL2 EC Bad Nauheim
19 Samuel Dubé F AlpsHL Red Bull Hockey Juniors
7 Florian Elias F DEL Adler Mannheim
26 Enrico Henriquez Morales F Germany3 Starbulls Rosenheim
11 Jan Nuenhaus F DEL Grizzlys Wolfsburg
24 John-Jason Peterka F ICEHL EC Salzburg (BUF)
10 Filip Reisnecker F DEL Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven
9 Joshua Samanski F DEL2 Ravensburg Towerstars
18 Jan-Luca Schumacher F DEL2 Heilbronner Falken
13 Markus Schweiger F DEL2 ESV Kaufbeuren
8 Tim Stützle F DEL Adler Mannheim (OTT)
15 Justin Volek F DEL2 Ravensburg Towerstars

Strengths

Based on the media spots he’s been doing over the past week, it seems that Tim Stützle avoided the infection that struck a third of his teammates, and that’s good news for the best player on the team, and one of the best in the entire international pool of Junior players. It was his play in the tournament last year that helped him rise to third overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, and he should be even better this time around.

Touted as an NHL-ready scorer, it’s likely he will be headed directly to the Ottawa Senators’ training camp when the tournament completes. His offensive game will be leaned on by his coach in all situations, especially if that coach is missing a line’s worth of players to start.

Weaknesses

Outside of fellow 2020 draftee John-Jason Peterka, whose health status isn’t known at this point, there isn’t a lot of offensive help coming Stützle’s way. The third member of last year’s team who got snatched up by an NHL franchise in the fall, Lukas Reichel, was forced off the team by a positive COVID test before the team left Germany. Reichel scored three of the nine goals Germany managed last year, so his loss is a massive one.

The positive tests mean that not only will Germany have a depleted roster to start, but they didn’t have the benefit of any tune-up games before the real thing begins. We’ve seen just how rusty the players have been in the few pre-tournament games on the schedule, and Germany will have to scrub that off pretty quickly on Christmas day.

X-Factor

The best news for Germany is that the opening games are against teams they probably weren’t going to beat anyway — Finland and Canada — so the overall effect of their depleted roster may just be losses by a few more goals than would have been the case, and they won’t derail the tournament entirely.

No team is getting relegated this year as there was no Division IA tournament to decide a new replacement, so that pressure is removed. But the nation still wants to perform well, and games against Slovakia and Switzerland to end the prelimary round were going to be their best bet even with their full complement of talent.

With that in mind, the coaching staff will likely give Stützle and Peterka fairly standard minutes in the opening games to get as much out of them as possible later on. It’s something their opponents with hopes for medals probably won’t be doing. Perhaps Germany can fill out its roster and ramp up its play just in time to knock off one of those clubs and earn a place in the quarter-finals.