Yesterday Finland defeated Sweden in the final game of the World Junior Championships to take the gold medal. In the bronze medal game, Russia took down Canada. The United States lost to Russia in the Quarterfinals.
The Philadelphia Flyers had five players in the tournament. Robert Hagg, a defenseman playing for Team Sweden, finished with a silver medal. Valeri Vasiliev, a defenseman who the Flyers selected in the 7th round of the 2012 draft, earned a bronze medal on the Russian squad. Forwards Scott Laughton and Taylor, taken in the first and fourth rounds respectively of the 2012 draft, represented the Canadian team and came in fourth place. Anthony Stolarz, arguably the Flyers best goaltending prospect and their 2nd round choice in 2012, was the back-up goalie for Team USA.
Robert Hagg – 41st overall 2013 NHL Draft – Defesneman – Sweden
In seven games for the silver medal Swedish squad, Hagg scored one goal, had zero assists, and was +4. He accumulated 12 PIMs and, according to people who saw his games (I did not see much of Hagg), he played in a relatively defensive role. He is still a fairly raw prospect, but playing top four minutes in the World Junior Championships can only help him.
Valeri Vasiliev – 201st overall 2012 NHL Draft – Defenseman – Russia
Vasiliev surprised many Flyers fans when he was selected to play in this tournament. He was usually lumped in with the other late round defensive draft picks that the Flyers have accumulated in recent years. In seven games played, Vasiliev scored a goal, had no assists, had an even plus/minus, and attempted only four shots. Although these statistics do not jump off of the page, the experience was vital for Vasiliev’s development. For a 7th round pick to even become a fringe NHL player is to exceed expectations.
Anthony Stolarz – 45th overall 2012 Draft – Goalie – USA
Stolarz was the back-up goaltender for the United States during the tournament. His lone start was against the weak German squad. However, Stolarz did exactly what he was supposed to do. He stopped everything. In his lone start, Stolarz posted a 15 save shut out. He is having a great season for the London Knights of the OHL and figures to be a very good NHL goalie some day.
Scott Laughton – 20th overall 2012 Draft – Center/Left Wing – Canada
The captain of Team Canada switched between center and left wing during the tournament. Laughton played in seven games and his lone point was an assist in Canada’s loss to the Czech Republic. The Canadian squad was filled with offensively talented players and they mostly relied on Laughton for his defensive responsibility. As Laughton continues to tear it up in the OHL, the Flyers have a lot to be excited for in this young man.
Taylor Leier – 117th overall 2012 Draft – Left Wing – Canada
When Flyers fans found out that Taylor Leier made the Canadian World Junior team, the reaction was similar to that of Vasiliev. For those players, just making the team is a fantastic accomplishment and proves that they are developing at a strong pace. Leier did not register a point in the tournament, was -2, and had a total of six PIMs. However, as he progresses to the Phantoms next season, the Flyers have a lot to look forward to.
The World Junior Championships were a success for the Philadelphia Flyers prospects. They did not have a player who’s stats jumped off the page or who truly dominated the tournament. However, the number of players that they sent and how far those players were able to progress into the tournament should make for exciting Flyers hockey in the future.