August 10, 2022

Joakim Kemell and the things we learned on Day 1 of the World Juniors

The World Juniors in August may feel a little weird.

But, nonetheless, the opening day of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship provided fans with some intriguing storylines, as always. And, with the event held in the summer months, we saw some members of the 2022 NHL Draft pay near-immediate dividends by stealing the show on Day 1 of the World Juniors, putting up some elite performances in the opening games.

Here’s what we learned on the first day of the World Juniors:

Joakim Kemell reminds people why he was so highly touted in the 2022 draft

Finland shot out of the gates at the World Juniors, powered by a couple of players putting up four-point performances in their 6-1 win against Latvia.

While Aatu Raty (New York Islanders) was impressive, Nashville Predators prospect Joakim Kemell stole the show.

Kemell, the No. 17 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, is known for his goal-scoring ability and lethal shot, and he managed to put both on full display against Latvia. Kemell netted four points (two goals, two assists), and on both goals he managed to get in close and release a quick shot from a prime scoring position to easily beat Latvian goaltender Bruno Bruveris. The 18-year-old also added two assists and was part of the most dominant line during the game while playing with Raty and Roni Hirvonen (Toronto Maple Leafs) throughout the contest.

Kemell should continue to be a vital part of Finland’s offensive attack and put-up impressive numbers throughout the rest of the tournament.

“We played well, but of course we think we can improve and play better next game,” Kemell said, according to the IIHF. “But for now we’re happy with how today went.”

Servac Petrovsky steps up big for Slovakia in a losing effort

The roster for Slovakia is missing three key pieces —  Juraj SlafkovskySimon Nemec, and Filip Mesar — and it will greatly impact their chances at finding their way onto the podium. Don’t tell Minnesota Wild prospect Servac Petrovsky that, though. Petrovsky, selected in the sixth round (No. 185) of the 2022 draft, stepped up big against Czechia, helping Slovakia make their opening game interesting. 

In the first period, Petrovsky opened the scoring for Slovakia giving his team an early 1-0 lead. Czechia managed to comeback and found themselves up 4-3 late in the third period, but Petrovsky managed to find teammate Matej Kaslik for the tying goal.

Czechia re-took the lead minutes later and managed to hold on for the 5-4 win, but Petrovsky showed that he can be relied on to keep Slovakia in games going forward, and should be leaned on heavily throughout the rest of the tournament.

Luke Hughes puts forth a great showing in his World Juniors debut

Luke Hughes has the potential to be the most exciting player in this tournament, maybe aside from Connor Bedard of Canada, of course. Hughes, the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils, is a magician with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone and can produce a ton of points for Team USA.

In his first game at the World Juniors against Germany, Hughes scored a goal and added an assist for the Americans and could have had a few more points. He activates from the blue line so well and can beat any opposing player with a slick move in a one-on-one situation.

Hughes had a nice tune-up match against Germany, but if he can continue to impress like this against the stronger opponents he should end up being one of USA’s top players at this event.

Josh Samanski and Nikita Quapp show out for Germany in loss to the Americans

It wasn’t the greatest showing for the Germans against Team USA, but two players managed to leave a strong impression on the opening day at the World Juniors. Goaltender Nikita Quapp (Carolina Hurricanes) and undrafted prospect Josh Samanski provided the positives for Germany.

Quapp faced 50 shots from a highly potent American attack and managed to stop 45 of them during his impressive performance. Samanski provided one of the highlights of the night when he scored Germany’s lone goal. He attacked the American defense off the rush and pulled off a beautiful toe drag move around the defender before scoring on a nice backhand shot.


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