International Ice Hockey Federation

Fantasy hockey gets going

Fantasy hockey gets going

Top tips for the start of IIHF Worlds

Published 14.12.2021 15:38 GMT+2 | Author David Alter
With the opening round underway, here are some players you should keep an eye on for the first weekend.

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Alexei Kalyuznhi – Belarus - Forward

Fresh off his third season with Dynamo Minsk, Kalyuznhy is a power-forward who can help lift the rest of his teammates. Kalyuznhy recorded 10 points in eight games at last year’s IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic. He is a favourite to put up similar points with the Belarussians again this year.

Connor McDavid – Canada – Forward

The top-overall pick from the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid proved he is game-changer. Limited to half a season with the Oilers due to an injury, McDavid averaged over a point per game. With Canada sporting a young team this year, he’ll be counted on again to provide a lot of offence.

Jan Kovar – Czech Republic – Forward

The Metallurg Magnitogorsk sniper will feel right at home here in Russia. Kovar was a pillar for his national team at last year’s Worlds, recording nine points in 10 games. With a younger Czech team this year, Kovar will be counted on for a lot of offence.

Sebastian Dahm – Denmark – Goalie

With Denmark struggling to score a lot of points last year, Sebastian Dahm carried the weight of his team with an impressive 93.17 save percentage. That performance was second-best for the entire tournament. If Denmark is to have any success, Dahn will likely be part of it.

Jussi Jokinen – Finland – Forward

With 11 points in last year’s tournament, Jokinen is back to help Finland score. Jokinen had 60 points this past season with the Florida Panthers (NHL). He was second only to Jaromir Jagr. You can’t go wrong by making a selection for this tenacious Finn.

Cristobal Huet – France – Goalie

Playing in only five games at last year’s IIHF Worlds, Huet was spectacular in his play. His 92.25 save percentage had him ranked fifth among all goaltenders for the tournament. With the tournament headed to France next year, Huet will no doubt be looking to make his nation proud.

Leon Draisaitl – Germany – Defenceman

The Germans struggled to score at last year’s IIHF Worlds. The addition of Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl should help in that department. In his second-full season in the NHL, Draisaitl recorded 19 goals and his stock is continuing to rise.

Andrew Sarauer – Hungary – Forward

The top scorer for his nation at last years’ I A tournament, the Canadian-born Hungarian was instrumental in getting his team promoted to this year’s top flight championship. Sarauer is a good pick for Hungary.

Kevin Dallman – Kazahkstan – Defenceman

Named the best defenceman at last year’s Division I Group A tournament, the Astana Barys (KHL) defenceman is an excellent choice if you are looking for a defenceman that can produce. Dallman recorded six points in four games last year, helping his team to promotion.

Kaspars Daugavins – Latvia – Forward

Daugavins was second in team scoring with nine points at last year’s Worlds. He’ll be counted on to put up a lot of points again for the Latvians. Daugavins recorded 35 points in 44 games with Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo (KHL) last season.

Mats Zuccarello – Norway – Forward

A late addition to the tournament, Zuccarello is world famous for his ability to score and his finesse on the ice. He recorded 61 points with the New York Rangers (NHL). It was the best season thus far.

Artemi Panarin – Russia – Forward

It’s been a long time since a Russian has had a rookie season like Panarin has had in the NHL. Playing with top-flight talent, Panarin recorded 77 points in 80 games. He is a Calder Trophy candidate this season, given out to the NHL’s top-rookie. He should help the Russians go far in front of their home crowd.

Nino Niederreiter – Switzerland – Forward

The Minnesota Wild forward will be expected to carry the offence for the Swiss. He’s recorded back-to-back 20-goal seasons and the offence will start with him.

Andrej Sekera – Slovakia – Defenceman

An offensive-minded defenceman, Sekera should be able to help anchor special-teams for the Slovakians. He’s consistently put up points at the National Hockey League level. He could be the element the Slovaks were missing at last year’s Worlds.

Viktor Fasth – Sweden – Goaltending

The Swedish netminder had a bounce-back season in his first KHL season. In 20 games played, he recorded a 1.66 goals against average and 92.1 save percentage. Playing in the same city where he played last season (CSKA Moscow), Fasth could have an edge over other goaltenders.

Auston Matthews – USA – Forward

Playing in the Swiss league last year, Matthews showed that despite his age, he is more than capable of playing with the older and more seasoned veterans. This will be his first tournament in front of players at the NHL level. Expected to be selected first at the upcoming NHL draft, Matthews will be looking to impress.


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