2024 NHL Draft

2024 NHL Draft Prospect Scouting Reports From The World U18 Championship

2024 NHL Draft Prospect Scouting Reports From The World U18 Championship

Chris Peters breaks down the most notable 2024 NHL Draft prospects that played in the 2024 IIHF Men's World Under-18 Championship.

May 5, 2024 by Chris Peters

ESPOO, Finland – The 2024 IIHF World Men’s Under-18 Championship drew to a close Sunday with Canada claiming gold in dramatic fashion over the U.S. 

As it is every year, this tournament showcases many top draft-eligible players for the upcoming draft. Oddly enough, this year seemed to be a lot more about the future draft-eligible players than the 2024 class, but I was still keeping a close eye on those who will hear their names called this coming June. 

So here’s a bunch of scouting reports from the tournament on some of the most notable draft-eligible players.

2024 NHL Draft Prospects World Under-18 Championship Scouting Reports

Cole Eiserman, LW, USA

He got his goals as we expected he would. It’s always been a big part of his game and now he’s atop the NTDP’s career leaderboard with goals scored. Eiserman scored above a goal-per-game this year and did so at the tournament with nine lamp-lighters this year. However, the two games where he didn’t score showed some of the flaws in his game as he looked a little lost at times and less sure of himself. Confidence is such a big part of his game and when it’s lacking, it’s noticeable. While he's probably never going to be a driver, he's an elite finisher and there's always a place in the NHL for goal scorers. His draft stock has slid a bit this year and I'm not sure that will change at this point even with the nice numbers he put up in Finland.

Tij Iginla, RW, Canada

Quick hands, a great shot and tenacity off the puck all marked Iginla’s game here. I don’t think he substantially raised his stock at this tournament, but he certainly didn’t hurt it. He’s looking like he’ll go somewhere in the 10-15 range in the draft at this point as he’s average sized and isn’t an elite skater, though he does have a good bit of quickness. You can see the pro habits in his game and his hand skills are a real separator for him. He gets sticks on pucks, is strong enough on skates and when he’s his most engaged, he’s hard to take off the puck, too. He scored some big goals for Canada including what proved to be the game-winner in the gold-medal game with a truly slick release. 

Trevor Connelly, LW, USA

Connelly’s tournament is going to be remembered for one moment, and shockingly it is not the Michigan goal he scored against Latvia. Instead, the most under-scrutiny prospect in this entire draft gave people reason to pause again. Connelly took a major penalty halfway through the third period of the gold-medal game, clearly drilling Ryder Ritchie in the head with a check. Canada scored three times on the major power play, turning a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead. The Americans never got back in the game. As the only player from outside the NTDP that played in the gold-medal game, there were always fears that Connelly’s temperament on the ice could prove costly and in the worst possible moment, it did.

Connelly had 11 points in the tournament and showed his speed and skill that some felt could have made him a top-10 prospect in this draft. However some off-the-ice concerns have tempered expectations, but it’s moments like the one late in a crucial game that teams are going to also notice. Decision-making on the ice has been a legitimate question and there's been some issues of him controlling his temper in the games. Teams want aggressive players, but there's a line to how far they want that to go. Connelly crossed it at the wrong time and it dramatically cost his team. He's a young player and mistakes are going to be made, but moments like that loom large in the overall draft conversation surrounding a somewhat divisive player.

Konsta Helenius, C, Finland

In an underwhelming tournament that included an early quarterfinal exit, Helenius never imposed his will on any game he played the way he was expected to. It’s not going to impact his draft stock much because he’ll be with Finland’s senior men’s team at the Men’s World Championship. I don’t know that he ever was truly engaged at this event and I’m not sure that’s going to be held against him. There’s no question he is one of the premium talents among forwards in this class.

Emil Hemming, LW, Finland

A big forward who I thought played some of his better hockey in this tournament, Hemming can score and can be a more confident player among his age peers. I thought he looked quicker and had fewer concerns about his skating compared to previous viewings. He has a high-end shot and a lethal one-timer, but I’d still like to see him take more pucks to the inside and add more power elements to his game. He also could disappear in games a little too easily which leaves some questions about his overall competitive drive. 

Liam Greentree, RW, Canada

I thought Greentree underwhelmed in the tournament and his ice time dwindled as a result. He struggled with the pace of the games and for a player his size, sometimes was too easy to knock off the puck. I still think the size/skill package Greentree has will get him a long look in the latter portion of the first round, but the compete factor was certainly lacking at this event and I don’t think he helped his draft cause here. He still could go in the latter half of the first round.

Jett Luchanko, C, Canada

Luchanko helped his draft stock a whole bunch in this tournament. He was Canada’s most reliable center and played big minutes as a result. A speedy, aggressive forward with the ability to slither through defenses, take pucks wide and get in on the forecheck, Luchanko grabs you by the lapels and forces you to watch what he’s doing. He’s got the jump and work ethic, while he also flashes some higher-end skill. I think he’s got a real chance to go in the first round thanks to the skill he has and the motor he brings to pretty much every shift. On top of producing, he saw a lot of James Hagens in the gold-medal game and was a key factor in shutting him down.

EJ Emery, D, USA

I’ve made no secret about how much I’ve liked Emery this season and this tournament only enhanced my belief in this player. He does not have a first-round point total, but I think he’s going to play a long time in the NHL. He’s big, he can skate and as he showed in this tournament, he can really defend against high-end players. He played big minutes and thrived in the role Team USA needed him to play. It’s been two years of growing into his game and while the offensive elements are not developed as much, his defensive game, mobility, ability to close and defend the rush are all traits that I feel will make him a solid No. 4 at the NHL level. 

Cole Beaudoin, C, Canada

A forechecking master, Beaudoin is absolutely relentless in puck pursuit. There isn’t a battle he feels he can’t win and he ends up winning a lot of them. If he has a little more touch, he could turn them into something. I think the physical, defensive game that Beaudoin excels in has a lot of value in the NHL. He doesn’t necessarily have the skillset that I think will make him an especially productive player at the NHL level, but he has the ability to change shifts and win pucks with his physical, aggressive game that has a good mix of tenacity in it. I feel like he's gone from sneaking into the first round to more firmly between 20 and 32.

Charlie Elick, D, Canada

Elick certainly looks the part of a top-tier defenseman when you look at his frame, his poise and his skating ability. However, I don’t think there’s much feel for the game offensively, which is going to hurt his projection. He can defend with the best of them and his feet are truly a plus tool for him. There’s still a chance he sneaks into the first round in the same way Emery’s lack of offense may be overlooked. He moves pucks capably, but I do have some concern about the offensive sense that most defensemen seem to need in today’s NHL to be more than just a shutdown guy.

Leo Sahlin Wallenius, D, Sweden

Big, big minutes were the order for Sahlin Wallenius and he did his best in that situation. Sweden really struggled to get a push offensively and Sahlin Wallenius had to focus far more on the defensive side. He’s a really good skater, poised under pressure and tried to make things happen. It’s just been hard to get a read on what he will be at the NHL level. I think his smarts and his skating will carry him to the league and an ability to play for a while, but what role he'd play is still unclear. 

Henry Mews, D, Canada

A talented offensive-minded defenseman, Mews had his ice time lowered a bit in the more important games. He has mobility, skill and good vision to make plays. Sometimes his decision-making hasn’t been the best and I think that’s led to valid concerns about his overall hockey sense. Mews could sneak into the first round yet, but may be a safer projection into the second round.

Teddy Stiga, LW, USA

A tremendous tournament overall, Stiga was a big-time goal-scorer for Team USA. Stiga was named one of USA’s three best players and it was an easy choice. He has a great motor, works hard off the puck and showed refined finish. Stiga is an average-sized forward with higher-end skating and a work ethic that will get him picked potentially as early as the second round. He definitely helped himself in Finland.

Carson Wetsch, LW, Canada

Wetsch plays a very heavy game and at 6-foot-2, 201 pounds, you definitely notice him. He played down Canada’s lineup, but gave them effective shifts on the forecheck and battled well. He can create some room for his linemates and does a nice job of getting pucks back. His offensive touch is lacking, but I can see him filling a role in the NHL down the line with how effective he is in closing down on opponents and playing a physical game. It wouldn’t shock me to see him go in the second round, but a third-round pick seems more likely.

Cole Hutson, D, USA

The top-scoring defenseman in the tournament for the second straight year, Hutson did a good job of playing up to his abilities despite coming into the tournament a little banged up. His best game overall was the gold-medal game as he impacted all three zones positively. He has skating ability that allows him to create extra time and space and even showed some goal-scoring touch in the tournament. His ability to make plays and defend at a reasonable enough level. It still probably doesn’t get him into the first round, but Hutson should be expected to be a second-round pick. 

Aron Kiviharju, D, Finland

After more than nine months on the shelf due to a knee injury, expectations had to be tempered for Kiviahrju. He didn’t help himself much, but didn’t hurt himself either. This tournament didn’t leave any lasting memories for the Finnish defenseman. He can move well enough and moves pucks at a high level with elite hockey sense, but he’s still an undersized defenseman without elite speed. It’s harder for those players to be picked in the first round without some substantial evidence they’re progressing. Because he was hurt most of the year and was only OK in the World U18s, it’s hard to really guage that at this point, which tempers his draft projection. I would not be shocked not only to see him go in the second round, but perhaps later. There’s just a lot of risk there.

Alfons Freij, D, Sweden

A high-end skater with some real flash in his game, I wanted to see Freij take charge, especially offensively. Instead he made some serious errors at both ends of the ice and never really found a way to impact games in a positive way. There are certainly tools there, but I see him as a player I’d be more comfortable picking outside of the top 64 at least a tthis point.

Adam Jecho, LW, Czechia

Czechia had a disappointing tournament despite a big win over Sweden, and Jecho had some decent moments over his brief run in Finland. You can see the size and he has good hands for a bigger guy. His skating is only OK and I think there's some legitimate concerns about his overall hockey sense. While he's gotten some attention as a potential first-rounder, I think he's more likely to go early in the second round.

Ryder Ritchie, C/W, Canada

He saved his best game for last in what had been an otherwise so-so showing at the tournament. Ritchie was a force in the gold-medal game and drew the decisive major penalty that opened the door for Canada to get back in the game. He scored a big goal in the second period, showing good creativity. He doesn't have super high end skill, but he's crafty enough to find ways to create offense. There's been some first-round buzz around him, but I think he'll be an early Day 2 pick at this point.

Harrison Brunicke, D, Canada

With good skating ability and agility, Brunicke defends very well. Canada used him in a shutdown role, getting a lot of tough matchups and he handled it very well. He also showed some decent touch on the puck, making a good first pass and keeping things simple. He’s not going to be a major point producer, but I could see a lot of teams feeling more comfortable taking him fairly early on Day 2, especially as a 6-foot-3, right-shot defenseman.

Tomas Galvas, D, Czechia

Having played at the World Juniors this year, expectations were high for Galvas, even though the Czechs were without their top defenseman in the age group in Adam Jiricek. Galvas, however, never really took charge of the blue line. He didn’t make a lot of plays and as a defenseman of below average size, you’ve got to bring a bit more. He played massive minutes, defended well enough and did flash some of the puck-moving capabilities we know he has. Still, I was left with more questions after a somewhat disappointing tournament.

Lucas Pettersson, C, Sweden

He finished the tournament with eight points and was one of the more consistent sources of offense for Sweden, but I also thought Pettersson was inconsistent. His second half of the tournament was a bit better, where he was making effective plays and using his speed to make things happen. He also showed better commitment off the puck at times in the tournament. I still just struggle to figure out what kind of player he’s going to be going forward.

Maxim Massé, RW, Canada

At one time thought to be a first-round candidate, I didn’t see much from Massé consistently enough in this tournament to see a first-round player. He has size and some decent hands, but I don’t think the hockey sense is where it needs to be at this point. He didn’t make as many plays as I was hoping to see and he was a bit behind the pace.

Brodie Ziemer, RW, USA

USA’s captain can play a lot of different ways and always seems to adapt his game well to what the competition dictates. He had a very nice tournament with 12 points playing alongside James Hagens. Ziemer was often the first forward in on the forecheck and made a lot good reads to get pucks to the middle of the ice. He has good offensive touch, but it’s not such a dynamic skillset that you view him as a top-six caliber player at the next level. I think he’ll probably be available in the third round or later.

Will Skahan, D, USA 

Big and physical like always, Skahan has showed good mobility for a bigger player throughout. The more I watch Skahan, the more it appears like he’ll be a five or six in the NHL. The offensive touch isn’t really there and while he defends well for a bigger player, I don’t think it’s always at that elite level. With the lack of offensive touch, there's still a chance Skahan goes in the second round, but I'd look for him to go perhaps a little later than that.

Christian Humphreys, C, USA

There are always moments where you can see the best parts of Humphreys' game where he's got his feet going and he's reading plays well. I think the hockey sense and vision are strong tools and Humphreys is quick enough to impact games with his feet. When his competitive drive is on, he can be a disruptive player as well. Where I'm struggling a bit is figuring out where he'd fit on an NHL roster. I think there's a good middle-six forward in there, but he's going to need more time to really dive into that potential that his hockey sense and skill should afford him. I'll be interested to see where he goes on Day 2, because I think opinions on him are all over the map.

Carter George, G, Canada

This is not a strong year for goalies in the draft, but Carter George showed a lot in this tournament. He was named the goalie of the tournament and made a lot of big saves in key moments. When Canada didn't have his best seemed to be when George had his. He stopped 150 shots in the tournament, posting a .916 save percentage. It wasn't the most perfect showing, but he showed some tools that can translate. At 6-foot-1, he's right on the cusp of that NHL goalie height. His season and his performance at Worlds should see him land in the mid rounds of the draft.

Didn’t mention a player you want to know more about on this list? Shoot me a note on X, @chrismpeters.

NHL Draft 2024 Coverage On FloHockey 

Don’t miss the latest NHL Draft coverage on FloHockey.

Watch ECHL, USHL And More On FloHockey 

FloHockey is the streaming home to some of the best hockey leagues in North America, including the USHL, ECHL and more. Check out the broadcast schedule to watch more hockey.

Join The Hockey Conversation On FloHockey Social