We really are in the dog days of summer, here, but if you’re just as starved for hockey as I am, the World Junior Summer Showcase has come as an extremely welcome reprieve. The national teams are starting their prep work for December’s World Junior Championship, bringing together a group of players who they might be interesting in inviting to their camps this winter, and, the players hope, will keep around for the tournament proper. And, would you look at that! The Flames had a couple of prospects representing the United States team! How’d they do? Well I’m glad you asked. Let’s get into it.
Demitrios Koumontzis. 2GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P
It’s going to be a pretty brief update on Koumontzis, here, due in part to the fact that he had an extremely limited showing with the USA White squad (two games in total), as well as the fact that neither of those two games that he played were televised down here in the States. What we can say is that Koumontzis was used primarily in a depth role, playing on the fourth line left wing, and registered zero points, but two shots on goal. And, of course, there was this nifty play, as he brought a little bit of flash.
Koumontzis unfortunately didn’t make it past the first cut, but this doesn’t mean he won’t be invited back for the World Junior camp. The United States is pretty loaded with forwards, but it will all depend on how things shake out with players who are and aren’t allowed by their teams to join. So Koumontzis may still have a chance yet.
Dustin Wolf. 4 GP, 60 sv, .882 sv%
Wolf did make it past the first cut, but it was still a somewhat limited showing for him as well (what can you expect when your starter is Spencer Knight?). He totaled just 62:23 in his first two games with the USA White split squad, and the 86:45 in his two games with the combined USA team, after the first cut. All told, it was something of a mixed bag, by the numbers. In his first two showings, he was really on, and put up a .949 sv%. Then, in his final three games, he struggled a bit, and put up a .793 sv% between his one start and one relief appearance. It’s worth noting that the numbers in the relief showing look a lot worse than the corresponding effort from Wolf, as the Finns weren’t able to generate a high volume of shots, but were doing well to collapse the United States’s defense and generate higher quality shots, that Wolf had much greater difficulty trying to stop. To the eye, he looked just fine—his positioning overall was sound, and his post-to-post lateral quickness flashed as well. He wasn’t perfect, but the fundamentals seemed to be in place, and that looked promising.
But here it’s also worth bringing in a bit of perspective, here. If we looked at a tournament save percentage of .882 for Spencer Knight we would feel really bad about how things went for him. But Wolf, as a seventh round pick, despite his performance in his draft season, doesn’t have this same pedigree, doesn’t have quite the same pressure. So what this tournament was for him was more about showing that he could hang with some of the best players in his age group, and he did that. he had himself a solid enough showing, and almost certainly figures to be in the mix for a job with the team come WJC camp.
All stats via USA Hockey.