Clarke, Raska & World Juniors, day one

Barrie Colts defense attorney Brandt Clarke and his brother and New Jersey prospect Devils Graeme Clarke are on loan to Slovakia. Adam Raska will miss the Czech Republic’s 2021 World Junior Championship kick-off due to suspension, and we’re rounding up day one of WJC 2021.

Clarke Brothers goes to Slovakia

Devil’s prospectus Graeme Clarke and his brother Brandt Clarke, who has the best prospects in the 2021 NHL draft, will travel to Slovakia on loan to join HC Nove Zamky. Brandt had previously tried to solicit a loan at Väsby IK at HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden but was turned down due to his contract with the Barrie Colts.

After an impressive rookie season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), in which he scored six goals and 32 assists for 38 points, he is ranked by many as the best candidate in the 2021 NHL draft. Played in 57 games. He led all OHL newbies in assists and was named to the All-Star First Team.

Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Clarke is one of many OHL players applying for credit in Europe to extend the pre-NHL draft season as the OHL was postponed indefinitely due to the recent Ontario lockdown in 2021. Mathieu Sheridan of THW had this say about Clarke’s ability in his assessment of the race for the overall top spot.

Clarke can change the game at any time. His elite skating ability allows him to create time and space with the puck on his club and to distribute it to his teammates in the slot machine without hesitation. He loves jumping in a race and can do more than come back if the puck goes the other way. Clarke isn’t a defensive player either. At 6 feet 1, he can make excellent use of his size to clear the front of his net of any danger. He’s not scared of going around the corner to get the puck and gives his attackers a great first pass when he crosses the neutral zone.

His brother Graeme was drafted by the Devils to 80th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. For the past three seasons he played for the Ottawa 67s in the OHL. However, due to a shoulder injury, he was limited to 16 games in the 2019-20 season. During those games he still registered nine goals and eight assists for 17 points. Last season he scored 23 goals and 11 assists for 34 points in 55 games. He should start his fourth season with the 67s for the 2020-21 season.

Junior World Championship, first day

The 2021 Junior World Cup began on Christmas Day with Switzerland against Slovakia. It wasn’t the most impressive opener we’ve seen, but Slovakia secured a late winner by just over five minutes thanks to striker Roman Faith. Slovakia won 1-0 and three points in the night. There are two draft-capable players from 2022, Simon Nemec and Juraj Slafkovsky, who excelled on opening day despite their age of only 16 years on the Slovak roster.

The Czech Republic discovered that they would be without strikers and with no prospect of San Jose Sharks Adam Raska after being suspended from a game for boarding the pre-tournament match between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Raska caught Šimon Bečár with a dangerous kick from behind and is missing in the Czech Republic’s opening game against Sweden.

In the second game of the day Germany lost to Finland. Germany still had many players in quarantine after a COVID-19 outbreak, so the squad for the kick-off was limited. In fact, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation, German players played an average of 21.01 minutes. All eyes were on Tim Stuetzle and John-Jason Paterka for Germany and they did not disappoint. Paterka noted Stuetzle’s only goal of the game, while Stuetzle finished with a goal and an assist Germany lost 5-3 against Finland.

Tim Stützle from Adler Mannheim will be the next Leon Draisaitl in hockey (photo credit: Simon Hastegård / Bildbyrån).

In the meantime, Finland seemed to be back on track with five goals and bombed German goalkeeper Arno Tiefensee for 50 shots on goal. Florida Panthers Prospect Anton Lundell scored the first goal of the game and looked impressive all night. He missed the entire 2020 Junior World Cup due to injury and will be one of Finland’s most important players this time around.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Topi Niemela scored one goal and one assist and was one of Finland’s top players that night. Eventually, Brad Lambert, a candidate for the 2022 draft, had some chances of scoring his first goal at the World Juniors but was turned down by Tiefensee. The 16-year-old didn’t look out of place among players a few years older than him.

The last game of the day was the first meeting of the two powers with Russia against the American team. Prospect Carolina Hurricanes Vasiliy Ponomarev was the Russians’ best player, scoring two goals, including the first goal of the game in the first half. Philadelphia Flyers prospect Cam York would bring the United States to the board before the end of the first period and contribute to Trevor Zegras’ power play goal in the third period.

Vasily Ponomaryov Cataracts from Shawinigan
Vasily Ponomaryow of the Shawinigan cataracts (Photo: Olivier Croteau)

Russia opened the game in the second half with three goals and a 4-1 lead. Zakhar Bardakov, Ponomarev and Ilya Safonov were the goalscorers in the second half. The US team would reduce the lead to one goal with goals from John Farinacci (prospect of Arizona Coyotes) and Zegras (prospect of Anaheim Ducks).

In the end, it was not too late for the Americans when Yegor Chinahov scored a goal in an empty net and scored a 5-3 win for the Russians. Day two of the Junior World Championship begins today with Sweden versus Czech Republic, Germany versus Canada and the United States versus Austria.

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