Top 5 Kraken performances at the World Junior Championships
Before some of the Seattle Krakens lit up the NHL, they made their country proud at the World Junior Championship. This year is no different, as two Kraken prospects seek to win gold for their country. Before the next generation hits the ice, here’s a look back at the top five performances of current Kraken players when they played in the World Juniors.
At the 2010 tournament in Saskatchewan, Adam Larsson helped the Swedish team advance to the bronze medal game. Their best game of the tournament came in the preliminary round against Austria, where their two assists and eight shots on goal helped Sweden win 7-3. At the end of the tournament, he helped Sweden beat Switzerland 11-4 to take bronze.
Although he was only 18 at the time, Larsson didn’t look elsewhere. The future fourth pick in the 2011 draft amassed four points in six games and posted an over / under rating of +3. He also took zero penalties playing big minutes with Oliver Ekman-Larsson. All in all, it was a good tournament for the now assistant captain of the Seattle Kraken.
4. Alexander Wennberg, Swedish National Team, 2014
Alexander Wennberg was electric at the 2014 World Juniors. Playing in front of Swedish home fans, he helped guide them to a silver medal after losing to Finland in the gold medal game. He was also named assistant captain for the tournament.
Related: Why World Juniors Is The Best Hockey Tournament
Wennberg has registered three goals and four assists in the seven games he has played. His best game of the tournament was against Finland in the preliminary round, where he scored two goals, got one assist and finished with three shots in a 4-2 victory. His efforts in the prelims helped Sweden secure first place in the group, which propelled them to the league game.
3. Matty Beniers, United States team, 2021
Before being drafted second overall by the Kraken, Matty Beniers won a gold medal with the United States team at the 2021 World Juniors. He played in every game and developed a certain chemistry with Cole Caufield and Matthew Boldy. It was the United States’ first gold since 2017 and their first since the 2019 tournament, when they clinched silver.
Beniers amassed three points in seven games while playing second row minutes for most of the tournament. He won for Team USA in the quarter-finals, where he scored four shots on goal and scored an empty net in 18:12 of ice time. With the tournament starting in 2022, expect it to play a big role as the United States tries to defend its gold.
2. Jordan Eberle, Team Canada, 2010
In 2010, Jordan Eberle hosted an unforgettable tournament. He was named tournament MVP and led his team to a silver medal. Although he could not replicate the gold medal won by Canada in 2009, he played an important role in ensuring that Canada won silver in Saskatchewan.
Eberle used to stand out for Canada at the world junior championships. His 2009 tournament featured an iconic clutch moment, while 2010 featured one of the best comebacks seen in a gold medal game. Canada were leading 5-3 with less than four minutes to go when Eberle resumed the game. He scored twice in less than two minutes to tie the game and force him into overtime. The team then fell in overtime against the United States. Yet he had produced another iconic Canadian junior moment that will be considered one of the best performances in Canadian World Juniors history.
1. Jordan Eberle, Team Canada, 2009
In 2009, Eberle helped Canada win gold in front of a home crowd in Ottawa. He would end the tournament with 13 points in six games on a row with Cody Hodgson and Cody Golobubef. Overall, he had a fantastic tournament, but his performance against Russia will go down as one of the most iconic in Canadian junior hockey history.
In the semi-finals against Russia, Eberle scored two goals plus the winner in the shootout as Canada advanced to the gold medal game. However, the moment everyone remembers is his tying goal with five seconds remaining. He kind of dug the puck under Dmitry Kulikov and beat Vadim Zhelobnyuk with a backhand to tie the game at five. The goal is one of the most iconic moments in Canadian junior history and was a big reason Canada was able to win its fifth straight gold medal.
More iconic moments yet to come
With Beniers and Ville Ottavainen competing at this year’s World Juniors, there could be an opportunity for a Kraken prospect to make his mark on the tournament. Make sure to follow the team at The Hockey Writers as they’ve got everything ready for this year’s tournament. The face-off is scheduled for December 26, 2021, and it will certainly be a memorable tournament with some special moments.
Adam is thrilled to join The Hockey Writers on the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found on dubnetwork.ca where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.