Though Germany is the new kid on the block, don’t expect them to be pushovers. This is an exciting time for the national program, and some of the most promising players in the nation’s recent history are all coming up at the same time.
The most obvious cornerstone for the Germans is defenseman Moritz Seider, the Detroit Red Wings first-rounder who quickly became a fan favorite this fall at the Red Wings-hosted Traverse City prospects tournament in Michigan thanks to his rugged, two-way play. That newfound physical dimension will serve Seider well against the big boys at the world juniors, and the fact he has found early success while playing against men in the AHL for Grand Rapids furthers his cause.
On the other end of the spectrum, it’s been a tough season for star right winger Dominik Bokk, the Carolina prospect who, like Seider, was integral in getting Germany promoted to the top rung of this tournament. Bokk is playing for Rogle in the SHL but has just a handful of points while playing on the fourth line. That’s a far cry from the impact he had on Vaxjo last season.
Thankfully, Bokk won’t be alone. Florida pick Justin Schutz has been a terrific international player, while lanky, undrafted Taro Jentzsch has been nearly a point-per-gamer in his second season with QMJHL Sherbrooke. The most intriguing name up front, however, may be center Tim Stutzle. The 2020 draft prospect has been nearly a point-per-gamer for Adler Mannheim in the DEL, and he is always involved in the play.
Lukas Reichel and J.J. Peterka are two other 2020 draft upstarts playing against men and succeeding in the DEL.
In goal, the Germans got a huge effort from Hendrik Hane en route to promotion last year, and though Hane doesn’t have ideal size, that often hasn’t mattered in the WJC – especially for teams with upsets on their mind. If he gets in a zone, Germany will be dangerous.