Scout's notebook: Analyzing Finland's line of Brad Lambert, Ville Koivunen and Samuel Helenius
The IIHF World Junior Championship tournament was cut short, but the few contests we did have still allowed us to identify the main drivers for each team, the players whose performance would have determined the fate of their respective team.
For Finland, the stars were Brad Lambert, Ville Koivunen and Samuel Helenius. The line carried the team's offence in their first two games, participating in six of the team's 13 goals. Considering the amount of skill the trio possesses, the high point collection wasn't surprising.
Koivunen was one of the premier playmakers at the tournament, leading it in passes and shots for scoring chances off the cycle. He seemed to always know where his teammates were positioned on the ice. He anticipated the formation of passing lanes and showed he could both hold on to the puck to wait for them to appear or hit them quickly before they close.
Brad Lambert's rushing skills were on full display, matching Koivunen's cycle creation with the tournament-lead in scoring chance creation in transition. His almost perfect skating and handling technique and his ability to use those techniques independently, complementarily, and deceptively allowed him to pierce through neutral-zone formation and elude defenders on the walls. He broke free, gained open ice, and created odd-man attacks and breakaways.
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