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2016 WJC Round Robin By the Numbers

The WJC preliminary round had some surprises, none more so than the number of 2016 draft-eligible players dominating the scoring charts. A deeper look at the numbers reveals a few other things as well.

Dmytro Timashov in action with the Quebec Remparts
Dmytro Timashov in action with the Quebec Remparts
Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

The Players

The story of the tournament has to be the number one line for the Finns, Jesse Puljujärvi, Sebastian Aho and Patrik Laine. Aho is a Carolina Hurricanes' prospect, but the other two are draft-eligible this year. They lead the tournament in points and Puljujärvi is the top goal scorer with Laine tied for second and Aho tied for fourth.

But look just below them on the points table, and you see the USA super line of Auston Matthews, Matthew Tkachuk and Colin White. White is a Senators' prospect, but the other two are also draft-eligible.

Rounding out this gang of kids dominating the tournament is draft-eligible Alexander Nylander who is fifth in points and tied for fourth in goals and draft-elilgible defenceman Olli Juolevi. Dylan Strome squeaks in at 9 and there are four players, including Dmytro Timashov tied for tenth.

One of the other three is undrafted 19-year-old Maxim Lazarev who put up 80 points for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and is on pace to best that this year. Lazarev is 19th in scoring in the QMJHL, is outscoring his teammate Yevgeni Svechnikov who was drafted last year, and if you're guessing he's about 5'10" right now, you have played this game before. Lazarev has looked great in this tournament so far.

Scoring over a stretch of four games can be very erratic. There's always guys on bad teams who are great, guys on team not playing well who are better than their numbers and guys who got the WJC flu in the hotel and can barely skate.

Bearing that in mind, a look at the top goal scorers gets interesting when we include their shot totals as well. The IIHF tracks shots on goal only, so that's what we have to look at.

I added three Leafs forward prospects to this chart to show where these guys, who aren't getting the goals just yet, fit in with the tournaments top snipers. Obviously William Nylander isn't listed.

Are you surprised to see Kasperi Kapanen just under Auston Matthews is shots? I'm not. He is dominating on the ice. His lack of goals has been a mix of puck luck and some occasional problems with how fast he gets a shot off. You can see Aleksi Saarela up there in shots too, he was Kapanen's linemate for the final two games, and they might not have been scoring like the top line, but they dominated in zone time (by the eye-test) and controlled the play much more efficiently.

Mitch Marner is actually doing okay, the puck's just not going in. We might expect to see him shoot a little more, considering his style of play, but he's hardly lagging behind Dylan Strome by a huge margin in shots.

Dmytro Timashov is equitably sharing out his time with the puck with Alex Nylander, and note Rasmus Asplund just below them, he is their usual linemate right now, and their lowish shot numbers might be a factor of icetime since they play behind Kempe.

The Teams

This is the IIHF chart showing the team rankings in various areas of play. I've limited it to the "big six" but the rankings included all 10 teams. Goaltending is by team save percentage, and scoring effieciency is team shooting percentage.


They are the offensive powerhouse of the team, getting points from their defence as well as their top two lines. If their third line starts to get going, it might not matter that their goaltending is shaky and their penalty killing is terrible. 5-on-5, they are better defensively, and the only game they played poorly was against Russia where they got out-muscled.


They are just a touch behind Finland in offensive strength, and a lot of theirs comes from the blue line. They have the only defenceman, Gustav Forsling, in the goal scoring top ranks, and in the top 20 point table for defence they have six guys. It's hard to name a weakness of the team, and given that they're dominating without their top player, they have to be considered a gold medal favourite.


Everyone always forgets about Russia until suddenly there they are playing great hockey. They have an excellent goaltending duo, and Georgiyev has played especially well for him. He plays in the Liiga, so Finnish rinks are home to him. They are a big, tough team, and they play like the largely men's hockey pros they are.


The USA is a bit top heavy in scoring. Their number two line is good but not great, and their depth drops off faster than most of the top teams. They are getting outstanding goaltending from Alex Nedljkovic, and you really can count on Auston Matthews to score in every game, so they are going to be tough to beat.


The most alarming thing about Canada's tepid performance has been their goaltending that's ranked eighth. They're worse than some of the bad teams in that respect. The penalty kill makes Finland's look good, and their only strength so far is their potential to score. But that potential is huge. There is no reason to think their stars aren't going to break out and start getting goals now that the games matter.

Czech Republic

The Czechs barely qualify to be in the conversation with the top teams, even with Pastrnak. I don't see them upsetting any apple carts unless they suddenly get outstanding goaltending.