December 26 2011 07:45AM
It'll be a much different WJ's for Oiler fans this New Year's. In past seasons Jordan Eberle was a major part of team Canada and two years ago we had a chance to kick the tires on Taylor Hall. This season, there is a quality draft eligible representing Team Canada and the Oiler prospects represent team Sweden (Klefbom, in photo), team Czech Republic and team Slovakia.
Whenever I hear "Klefbom" I think of this song, don't ask me why. Oscar Klefbom represents team Sweden at this tournament and would have to be considered the top Oiler prospect on display by (draft) pedigree. Selected in the first round of the 2011 entry draft, Klefbom will play an important role on the Swedish team but is not scheduled to be a feature player. Why? This is a 19-year old tournament, so the older kids will play bigger roles. Klefbom is the youngest defender on the Swedish team this season, but took a regular turn in the final pre-tournament game against Canada and had a lot of PK time. He's a mobile defender with size and has been known to cheat for offense, although one imagines a more button-down performance during this tournament.
Sweden gets their tournament started this afternoon at 3:30 Edmonton time on tsn2 against team Latvia. Klefbom is playing in the Swedish Elite League this season and is 17, 0-0-0 E in 2011-12.
David Musil plays for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL and will be representing team Czech Republic at this year's WJ's. He's regarded as a quality prospect, likely the most defensively capable in the group of four Oiler youngsters at the tournament. Musil was considered a draft steal by many observers, and Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus told me on this week's Nation Radio that Musil is (in his opinion) the best prospect of the four.
Martin Marincin (in photo) and Martin Gernat will play for team Slovakia at this year's tournament. Marincin should be a major player for his country, he has experience in this tournament (watch for him against USA's Zucker in video below) and will be a go-to player. Gernat has offensive flair so may end up getting PP minutes in this tournament.
Marincin is an interesting prospect: tall, lean, skilled and with a mean streak. Definitely a worthwhile player to watch in this tournament.
This is Ryan Murray. He is perhaps the most interesting prospect in the WJ's 2012 for Oiler fans. Projected as a clear top 10 choice, he is ranked very high on all draft rankings and has been compared to Scott Niedermayer in terms of style. The Oilers will be tempted to take another forward at this year's entry draft, but Murray could be that rare item: a franchise defender.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This tournament is a showcase of talent. Great, great talent. This is Victoria Silvstedt from Sweden. Nice car.