January 10, 2021

2021 WJC: 10 statistical takeaways from draft-eligibles

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship is all wrapped up.

At FCHockey, we’ve spent the past two weeks pouring over the performances of the draft-eligible prospects, from the double overagers down to the six prospects 2022 NHL Draft.

You can find all of our reports from the tournament published here. These reports cover what our scouts see. How does their skating look? How do they handle pressure? How is their decision making? Are they driving play? And so on – there are a lot of questions our scouts ask themselves when they watch players.

To complement these eye-test scouting reports, our friends at InStat Hockey provided some statistics on the 2021 World Juniors to give our scouts a look at the numbers behind the players.

Here are 10 (plus) of those statistics that can help to shed some light on the play of certain draft-eligible prospects.

1) 2022-eligible Jiricek leads draft-eligibles in positive Corsi

Team Czech Republic’s David Jiricek, was one of the standout draft-eligible performers of this tournament. The defenseman was rightly named a top-three player on his team at the end of the tournament. An important statistic in the evolving world of hockey is Corsi. Corsi tracks all shot attempts (including misses and blocks) for and against. The young Czech defender finished a positive 51 in the tournament, not only leading draft-eligibles but finishing 16th in the tournament. Since e’re more used to seeing Corsi in a percentage form: Jiricek completed the tournament at 68.69%.

2) Helenius finished second in hits

A simpler statistic, Team Finland’s Samuel Helenius didn’t have the flashiest of tournaments, but he played his fourth-line role well. The centerman finished second in the entire tournament for hits with 17 (2.4 hits per game). He did what he could given the role he was assigned, and while this role may have taken away the ability to stand out in the tournament, him playing his role well does show some promising adaptability. He also finished 16th in total penalty kill time on ice, with 13:33, only allowing one goal against. We may have a defensive specialist on our hands.

3) Myklukha T-second in takeaways per game in offensive zone

Another player who didn’t really steal your eye in the tournament showed up in other ways too. Team Slovakia’s Oleksii Myklukha came into the World Juniors with some hype but didn’t really live up to that offensively. He did, however, show some promising puck-stealing capabilities. The centerman averaged four takeaways a games, with one of those per game coming in the offensive end. For what it’s worth, he also came in 14th in faceoff wins per game with 7.8 (winning 75.6% of his draws, on average).

4) Canonica: 10th in faceoffs, leading first-year eligibles

Another player that came into the event with some offensive hype that didn’t really live up to it, Lorenzo Canonica, like the two previous names on this list, found other ways to contribute. The biggest, was in his faceoffs, finishing 10th in the tournament with 8.8 wins per game. This did come at a 47.3% win rate, but it’s an intriguing sign for the young centerman.

5) Munzenberger first in challenges won per game, Beniers second

A player that wasn’t discussed much through the tournament, Luca Munzenberger proved he has a high competitiveness in the 2021 World Juniors. With an average of 17 challenges (battles for a neutral puck) per game, he led the entire tournament with 10.8 wins per game, a 63.5% success rate. These nearly all came in the defensive end, where he averaged 14.4 challenges per game and won nine – also leading the tournament.

Also, it’s worth noting that right behind Munzenberger was Team USA workhorse Matthew Beniers. The American centerman had 18.6 challenges per game, winning 10.6 – a 56.9% win rate.

6) Overager Elias dominated draft-eligible statistics

Team Germany’s Florian Elias made his name known in this tournament, dominating the draft-eligible statistics, and climbing the overall event’s leaderboards. Here’s a look at where he ended up in some key categories (rank among draft-eligibles, then rank in tournament):

  • Goals: Four (first/tied seventh)
  • Assists: Five (first/eighth)
  • Points: Nine (first/tied sixth)
  • Total power-play time: 32:20 (first/third)
  • Total shorthanded time: 16:31 (third/eighth)
  • Faceoff wins/game: 10 (first/fourth)
  • Challenges won/game: 10.2 (third/fourth)

It’s safe to say he played a pretty big role for Team Germany and played it well.

7) Overager Glotzl led tournament in errors leading to goals against

Team Germany looked good at times in the 2021 World Juniors, but they, unfortunately, had some costly mistakes and errors that led to goals against. Just how many goals could have been prevented? Well, for Maximilian Glotzl, he’ll likely be pouring over game tape looking at how he can do better next time. He made 12 errors that led to goals against throughout the tournament. The closest player to him was Germany’s Simon Gnyp with eight.

8) Overager Knak led draft-eligibles in shots on goal

A standout performer on Team Switzerland, Simon Knak led all draft-eligibles with an average of four shots on goal per game. This was also sixth in the tournament. He may have only scored once through the four games played, but it was for a lack of shot generation from Knak’s part.

9) Overager Hlavaj perfect on the PK

Flipping to the goaltenders, double overager Samuel Hlavaj looked good when he played, and while he was eventually overtaken by Simon Latkoczy, he really made his mark helping his team on the penalty kill. The netminder faced 16 shots while his team was down a man, stopping every single one of them to keep his team in the game.

10) Latkoczy, Wallstedt, Piiroinen lead in scoring chance save percentage

Sticking with the goaltenders, there was a draft-eligible party at the top of this list as Latkoczy, Jesper Wallstedt, and Kari Piiroinen led the tournament, in that order, in scoring chances save percentage. These are shots from inside the house, close to the net, that have a high goal probability. Latkoczy stopped 75% of shots faced from here, Wallstedt stopped 74.2%, and Piiroinen stopped 69.6%.

Statistics provided by InStat Hockey.

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