The prospects for the Flyers are dazzling at the 2023 World Juniors

This is a detour, guys! 2023 world youth Thursday night ended in dramatic fashion, as the USA claimed the bronze medal over Sweden, winning 8-7 in overtime (no, that’s not a typo), and then Canada made it back-to-back medals after surviving. Late comeback for the Czech Republic and win in overtime. It was a wild tournament, and it was fun to watch (and it sure felt more like a fever dream than its summer rescheduling). the Flyers They also had a couple of potential tournament prospects who had put in very good performances, representing their countries and the organization well, so let’s take a moment to connect with them, shall we?

Brian Zanetti. defense. Switzerland

5 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 4 SOG

Zanetti’s tournament was, in general, relatively uneventful, if we only look at box results. We’ve seen his offensive game play out well at the OHL level, but we haven’t noticed it quite the same way in this tournament (reminder: very short). However, his assist turned out well in Switzerland’s opening goal against Latvia.

Zanetti’s strength lies in his ability to move the puck in transition, in his sudden passes, and we’ve done that really well with him in this tournament. He relied heavily on 5-on-5 (he averaged 16:19 ice time per game, and almost all of it came on power, because he wasn’t ever getting much in the way of special teams assignments) and generally hung well there.

This will be Zanetti’s last youngster in the world, turning 20 in a couple of months, and while he may have been hoping to come away with more action, it’s not like it’s a bad showing either. He was a steady presence in Switzerland’s second defensive pairing, and the quietly efficient match was impressive nonetheless.

Cutter Gautier. straight ahead. United States of America

7 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 31 SOG

It’s a little strange to look at that baseline for Gauthier on that bronze-medal-winning US team and say he still has an under-the-radar, underestimated tournament quality, but it would be true. He spent the tournament on a streak with Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerode, who both provided plenty of goals, and garnered plenty of attention, as a result. Gauthier’s work may be a bit lost in discussing the efforts of this trio, but it remains that he wasn’t just a rider on that streak, and there was a lot to like about his game. Let’s go to the bar.

The strength of the United States was the real strength of this team, and Gauthier was a major factor in getting it to work in that top unit. We saw him create chances well by slipping pucks into the net. Sometimes this was a pass from a player shooting at the front of the net to keep the cycle going…

And sometimes it was just a shot, like this timer that is something of Gautier’s specialty.

We also saw him use the same type of shot in 5-on-5 as well.

And as much as we loved his game-making in this tournament, it was perhaps his shoot-first mentality that stood out the most. His first goal in the tournament was beautiful from a difficult angle.

The goals are certainly great, but it wasn’t the end of the offense that Gautier created. He finished the tournament second in shots on goal with 31, behind only Snuggerud. As of the second break of Monday’s game against Germany, Gauthier was leading the entire tournament with 10 solo rushing chances (thanks to NHL Network Broadcast for throwing in those extra stats we wouldn’t have access to otherwise).

But beyond his offensive flash, there was a lot that worked well for him, and he probably doesn’t get as much attention – he played fast, checked well, won fights when he needed to, and was generally very detail oriented. So that his streak can continue to click well. It wasn’t always flashy, but it was effective, it was enough.

It hasn’t been an ideal tournament for Gauthier – you can tell from some of his zonal entries and positioning that he’s taken some time to adjust to playing on the wing again after spending most of his college season playing in, and he’s gotten caught a few times floating in Defensive zone, but we’re moving in there a little bit. Overall, it was a great display of exciting prospects and it was a pleasure to see him contribute extensively to his team’s medal efforts.

All stats via IIHF.

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