The 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is over and it’s been a great tourney that concluded just two days ago with Canada repeating gold for seventh consecutive time. Remarkably, Canadians won all of their games by a margin of four or more goals, only allowing the puck to enter their net ten times in five meetings while scoring 32 goals.
Czech List was right in Břeclav, Czech Republic, to watch the action, and now it presents awards to top individual players.
Top Goalie: Daniel Vladař (Czech Republic)
Last year, Czech goalie Vítek Vaněček stole the show from all other netminders and also ended up drafted high by the Washington Capitals. This year, expectations were not as large at the goalie spot, but Prague native Daniel Vladař came through and became a brick wall in the Czech goal. Yes, he would eventually end up with unspectacular statistics, mostly ruined by great Team Canada performance in final where he was pulled 17 minutes in after allowing four goals on eight shots. Other times, however, he was the reason why his team won games and as much as his team is a group of players, he might have been the individuality that led them to silver.
Honorable mentions: Aleš Stezka (CZE), Zachary Sawchenko (CAN)
Top Defenseman: Jérémy Roy (Canada)
Ranked 19th by Future Considerations for the next draft, the Sherbrooke Phoenix defenseman played a versatile game in Piešťany and Břeclav, doing well while helping his forwards, joining the rush, but also doing the dirty job in his own zone. Hardly making a mistake, the Longueuil, Quebec, native collected three assists in his five games at the tournament and also speaking of his defensive abilities, is the +8 in the +/- column. Initially ranked behind fellow Ivan Hlinka defensemen Oliver Kylington of Sweden and teammate Matthew Spencer, Roy can now be expecting a rise in the rankings.
Honorable mentions: Oliver Kylington (SWE), Jakub Zbořil (CZE)
Top Forward: Brock Boeser (USA)
He might not have the best hands that there were or exceptional size, but this 17-year-old Waterloo Black Hawk managed to impress many scouts at the tourney. In addition to displaying great character and willingness to help out his D-men, he also proved that he is an all-round offensive weapon and his area of operation is the one that opponents like to protect the most. The doorstep. As much as he isn’t bigger than most of the players at Ivan Hlinka, he is huge when it comes to standing in front of a goalie and a lot of his six goals came out of being just outside the goal crease. Goalies must hate him and soon those who play in the NHL will, too.
Honorable mentions: Lawson Crouse (CAN), Dylan Strome (CAN)
Top Captain: Travis Konecny (CAN)
Golden captain is often also the best captain, but Ottawa 67s’ Travis Konecny is a well-known name when it comes to character. Under his and coach Hull’s lead, Canadians rarely took a shift lightly and the aforementioned overall score of 32-10 is a prove of that. Konecny, while not ranked in top ten of points producing or in our top three of best forwards, still came through in terms of getting points as well, scoring five goals in five games and adding an assist. And as a reward, he was the one who raised the cup before anybody else did.
Honorable mentions: Rasmus Asplund (SWE), David Kaše (CZE)
Top Underager: Patrik Laine (FIN)
Choosing the best player born in 1998 or later wasn’t that hard as there were only a couple of such players at the Ivan Hlinka. The choice was pretty easy. Laine, despite being sent home before fifth-place game for showing the middle finger to head coach and threatening to kill him, played great hockey during group stage games, exceling when it comes to physical game and nastiness. Besides that, the Tappara product is also a great shooter and has pretty smooth hands, compensating for his lack of skating ability that better be dealt with soon or it might make it hard for him to reach the NHL. That all despite the fact that he only had one point all tourney.
Honorable mentions: Jesse Puljujärvi (FIN), Libor Hájek (CZE)
Top Defensive Player: Doug Blaisdell (USA)
Even though his team allowed eleven goals in semifinal game with Canada, Blaisdell displayed great character and defensive abilities in all games of the tournament, acting as a brick wall in front of a brick wall, making it twice as hard for the opposition to score goals against Americans. Actually, that’s not much of a fact as Blaisdell was far better defensively than most of his teammates. Playing for Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, the Detroit-area native profits from his size and awareness. He hasn’t scored single point at the Ivan Hlinka, but was great defensively.
Honorable mentions: Mikhail Sidorov (RUS), Lukáš Kaňák (CZE)
Photo courtesy of Jakub Homoľa/slovakprospects.com