2 years ago

2019 IIHF WC Preview. USA, Russia

It’s that time of year again. The 2019 edition of the IIHF World Championship is upon us. To celebrate that, Fanteam is launching a series of daily tournaments which will run up until the finals have been played. Sure enough, we at Draftgym could not ignore this large event and have come up with a series of tips dedicated to each team taking part in this year’s world forum.

In this series, we are going to take a look at elite and value picks from each team. Our today's targets are USA and Russia. Lace 'em up, boys and girls!


Source: Team USA Hockey official website

It’s somewhat surprising, but team USA’s roster looks even better than Canada’s, which certainly does not make it easier to take your picks. However, there are still several names that stand out even on a squad this strong.

Elite D-men

The elite pick here seems to be Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild. He will likely quarterback the team’s power play and brings a lot of NHL experience to the table.

Value D-men

Canucks’ Quinn Hughes is the future of hockey. He has already shown flashes of brilliance late in the NHL regular season and garnered three assists in five games. Hughes is young, skilled, and creative and should be cheap compared to other defensemen.

Quinn Hughes. Source:

Elite forwards

Wow, what a stacked group that is. I think the three elite picks that should be singled out from this roster are Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Kane, and Jack Eichel. Gaudreau had an outstanding season with the Flames, almost reaching that elusive century mark. Kane also had an exceptional season, posting 110 points in 81 regular season games. Eichel, in his own right, exceeded the point-per-game pace despite a mediocre season by the Buffalo Sabres. Having these three on your teams will win you some money in the next two weeks.

Patrick Kane. Source: Second City Hockey

Value forwards

Team USA’s lineup is full of talent top to bottom, but there are a couple of players in the value category that jump out. The first one is Alex Debrincat, lovingly called The Cat by the Blackhawks’ fanbase. He was a 40-goal scorer in just his sophomore season in the National Hockey League. Sure, this has a lot to do with Patrick Kane and his genius, but this achievement should not be underestimated. The second value pick is Quinn Hughes’ younger brother and the consensus #1 pick in the upcoming 2019 Entry Draft, Jack Hughes. At just 18, he is already seen as a generational talent, and this tournament can be another feather in his cap.

Alex Debrincat. Source:
Second City Hockey


Team Russia, 2018 Olympic champions. Source:

Due to Caps’, Penguins’, and Lightning’s early exit from this year’s NHL playoffs, the Russians are bringing one of strongest squads to the world forum in recent memory. The last time Russia came away with the trophy was 2014, and hockey fans can certainly expect that their team will go all the way to the gold in 2019.

Elite D-men

There aren’t that many offense-minded defensemen in this team, to be honest. One that springs to mind is probably Mikhail Sergachev who has just had a pretty good regular season with the Lightning (32 points in 75 regular season games). He quarterbacked Tampa’s top power play unit in the absence of Victor Hedman, and he seems to be slated for the exact same role in the national team.

Mikhail Sergachev. Source:

Value D-men

Like I said earlier, there aren’t too many offensive D-men on this roster. Of those who are, however, I would choose Dmitry Orlov, purely due to the fact that he is on the ice with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov for most of the time. Another punt play may be Vladislav Gavrikov who has just returned from his short trip to Columbus and seems to be in good shape.

Elite forwards

Is that some type of conspiracy? How is one supposed to pick the elitest of the elite? Anyhow, let’s try to do that. I believe that the elite two picks from this packed roster are Nikita Gusev and Nikita Kucherov. The former is a tremendous playmaker who is used to bigger European rinks, and the latter is the most prolific point-getter of this past NHL regular season (128 points in all 82 regular season games) and a natural goalscorer. Plus, they know each other well since they began together in their youth team and seem to be playing on the same line as of this writing.

Two Nikitas, Gusev and Kucherov. Source:

Value forwards

One of the most underrated players on this squad who can get lost in the shuffle is Sergey Andronov. In games against stronger opponents, his role will likely be relegated to that of a penalty killer and a faceoff guy, but he might shine in bigger roles against inferior teams. If you need salary relief, that’s the way to go.

More preview articles are coming your way from our hockey experts as we edge closer to the opening face-off of the IIHF World Championship. Enable notifications and follow us on Twitter to be fully armed when the slates at FanTeam open.



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