WJC - More Players to Watch

Any surprise that this is a face that Pierre McGuire is in love with?

Before the WJC started we gave you a list of prospects that we'd be watching closely during the tournament... and now that we've had a chance to see most of the teams a few times and before the knockout stages begin today, here's a few more that we want to see more of, for one reason or another:

Dmitri Orlov, RUS, D - heading into the tournament we were more excited to see Tarasenko and what kind of progress he's made over the past year but it's been the dman Orlov that's really impressed us on the Russian team as he's currently tied for the tournament lead for points by a dman (1+7=8 in four games, tied with Ellis).  He's a 2nd round pick of the Capitals in 2009, so there's a great situation waiting for him when he decides to cross the pond and unlike a lot of young Russian players, Orlov is actually seeing decent minutes in the KHL as he plays 18 minutes/gm and is second on his team in scoring amongst dmen (2+8=10 in 33 games).

Nick Bjugstad, US, F - He's a big kid, a 1st round pick of the Panthers who has shown some flashes during the tournament with 1+2=3 in four games and has been very impressive according to Pierre McGuire as P-Mac says he's ready for the NHL.  I beg to differ as if the kid was so good he'd be putting up more than four points in 13 games at UofMinn. this year.  Granted he doesn't play a ton there but I need to see more, so I'll be watching him closely over the next game or two.

Patrick Cehlin, SWE, F - I mentioned this kid the other day as every time I've watched the Swedes play he's looked very quick and dangerous.  He passed through the draft once but was a 5th round pick of Nashville last summer and looks like a good one as he's 4th in SEL scoring by a U20 player in his second full season in what is a tough league.  He's leading the Swedes in scoring (3+2=5) and shots (19). 

Tim Erixon, SWE, D - 1st round pick of Calgary from 2009, he's been steady but not spectacular with 1+2=3 so far but he's got almost three years of SEL experience under his belt and with the Flames looking like they may be going into re-build mode soon, he might be counted on to supply some offense in the next few years.

Benjamin Conz, SUI, G - he's been playing against men in the Swiss league for a few years now and he was named the WJC's best goalie last year.  His numbers this year are even better but he's going to need to make a statement against Canada to really raise his stock. 

Inti Pestoni, SUI, F - the leading scorer on the Swiss team is not Nino Niederreiter, it's the undrafted 5'7" Pestoni who has 3+2=5 so far.  He's a long-shot to be any kind of fantasy-worthy prospect but there's some things to like as he's the leading U20 scorer in the Swiss league this year and has been a productive player in the Swiss junior leagues over the past few years.

Joni Ortio, FIN, G - he's another 2009 draft pick of the Flames and he's been almost as good as Jack Campbell in this year's tourney with a 1.08 gaa & .952 sv%.  He's had good numbers while coming up throught the Finnish leagues and is faring pretty well in the SM-Liiga this year (10 gms, 3.42 & .906), pretty decent for a 19-year-old.  I'd say he's the best looking goalie prospect in the Flames system, so if you're willing to invest for the long-term then it could pay off down the road.

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