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2022 World Junior Hockey Championship: Team Germany preview & roster

Germany’s biggest challenge at this tournament will be putting pucks in the net.

Russia v Germany: Quarterfinals - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Dealing with a COVID outbreak just as they touched down in Alberta one year ago, avoiding finishing in last place in their section seemed to be the best that Germany could hope for. They were in a group with some very good teams, needing to play their best hockey to earn a win.

They were able to hold their own in the opening game versus Finland (a 5-3 loss), and then were routed by the hosts in game two the next day. But with a day off to rest some overtaxed players and get a few people back in the lineup, they realized their main goal from the round-robin portion of the tournament by beating Slovakia, and they followed that up with a regulation win in their last game of the preliminary round versus Switzerland.

Germany played very well in their quarter-final versus Russia. After keeping the game close they scored a goal early in the third period to get within a goal of sending the game to sudden death, but couldn’t take advantage of a late Russia penalty (a story of that game) and got no closer. Despite the loss, Germany still finished sixth in the tournament, which was an impressive result considering how things started. It’s going to be tough to replicate that performance this year with some missing firepower, but that will be their goal.

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
31 Niklas Lunemann G DNL U20 Kölner Haie/EC Bad Nauheim
30 Nikita Quapp G DEL Krefeld Pinguine (CAR)
6 Justus Böttner D Germany3 Black Dragons Erfurt
16 Arkadiusz Dziambor D DEL Adler Mannheim
11 Krobinian Geibel D DEL2 Lausitzer Füchse
22 Maximilian Glötzl D DEL Kolner Haie
28 Adrian Klein D DEL Straubing Tigers (2022)
15 Luca Münzenberger D NCAA University of Vermont (EDM)
17 Fabrizio Pilu D DEL Nürnberg Ice Tigers
4 Maksymilian Szuber D DEL Red Bull München
24 Alexander Blank F DEL Krefeld Pinguine
20 Jakub Borzecki F IceHL Red Bull Salzburg
3 Yannik Burghart F DEL2 ESV Kaufbeuren
13 Noah Dunham F DEL2 Heilbronner Falken
18 Josef Eham F AlpsHL Red Bull Hockey Juniors
7 Florian Elias F DEL Adler Mannheim
23 Thomas Heigl F DEL Red Bull München
10 Danjo Leonhardt F IceHL Red Bull Salzburg
19 Jussi Petersen F DEL2 Dresdner Eislöwen
27 Bennet Roßmy F DEL Eisbären Berlin
12 Maciej Rutkowski F DEL Krefeld Pinguine
8 Joshua Samanski F DEL Straubing Tigers
26 Markus Schweiger F DEL2 ESV Kaufbeuren
9 Justin Volek F DEL Krefeld Pinguine

Strengths

There are some key returning players, which is quite rare for one of the teams that tends to teeter right on the line between making the Top Division and getting relegated to Division I; it’s usually one good year from a small selection of top-end players who age out before the next tournament. This year, Germany can count on Florian Bugl, its starter for the final three games they played last year once he had recovered from COVID. He ensured all of those matches had one-goal decisions, including that critical win over Slovakia in his first game of action.

At the opposite end of the ice, Florian Elias will be the team’s main hope to provide offence. He finished with four goals and five assists in his five-game showing in 2021, and has another year of experience on one of the top teams in Germany, Adler Mannheim, since then. The C on his jersey will be proof enough of the expectations for the 19-year-old forward.

Weaknesses

The defence was put together with the sole objective of shutting down the opposition. The team had a total of five points from the back end a year ago, and this iteration seems headed for a similar level of offence. It’s a team built to play low-scoring game in what is usually a high-scoring tournament, so it’s starting with a high degree of difficulty from the opening faceoff.

A major reason for their success last year was a line of Tim Stützle, John-Jason Peterka, and Elias, the players who finished fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in tournament scoring. Stützle is now an everyday NHL player, while Peterka — who is still eligible for the tournament — is working his way to that level, currently playing in the AHL. Without those two great players, it will be much more difficult for Elias to rack up points this time around.

X-Factor

Perhaps Alexander Blank, a relative newcomer to the national program, can step up to help his captain in that regard. He’s one of the few players joining from the Deutsche Eishhockey Liga who has been producing on a regular basis in Germany’s top league. He has three goals and seven assists with the Krefeld Pinguine this year, and was regularly playing over 15 minutes per night before his deployment was ramped down leading up to this tournament. He had three assists in two games with the under-20 squad before it headed to Canada, and Germany will need him to keep contributing if they want to pull off a win this year.