As Team Canada played out the final minutes of a 16-2 win against Team Germany on Saturday, fans watching the game started feeling bad for a completely under-manned German squad, but also wondering just how high Team Canada could rack up the points on a gassed opponent. Dylan Cozens opened the tournament and finished with six points in the game and Dawson Mercer had four. It was fair to wonder if there was a chance any of these players — specifically Cozens — could catch the single-tournament record holders.
As Cozens scored a hat trick and Team Canada absolutely dominated the game, it got us to thinking… was this game just a one-off considering the German team had nine skaters removed from the lineup for health concerns, including their No. 1 goalie? Or, was this a sign of things to come?
If this is how good a deep Team Canada can be and if Cozens could keep up his run as a new co-captain of the team, it’s fair to argue there’s a lot more to come of what fans watched on Saturday. We began to wonder who were the leading scorers in World Junior Championship history and how many more points a player like Cozens might need.
If he keeps up this pace, Cozens will surpass the record with ease. We don’t believe this pace will continue, but he’s given himself a strong chance to contend.
Below are the top five leading scorers in World Junior Championship history. We’ll go from five to one. Could a Team Canada player rank in the top five by the time the 2021 tournament is over?
#5: Esa Tikkanen – Team Finland, 20 points
The former traveled NHL veteran who most notably spent time with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers as a key player for Team Finland as a junior. He played for the team from 1983 to 1985 and in his final year, Tikkanen tallied 20 points that year. It actually tied him with Vladimir Ruzicka who scored 20 points in a single season for the Czech Republic.
#4: Robert Reichel, Czech Republic, 21 points
In the year 1990, at the age of 18, Reichel score 21 points for the Czech Republic. The team ended up winning the Bronze medal that year. He had 11 goals and 10 points. He averaged three points per game.
#3. Raimo Helminen, Team Finland – 24 points
In 1984, Helminen had eleven goals and 13 assists for 24 points in and led the team to a silver medal. At the time, he was 19 years old. Helminen didn’t spend much time in the NHL after that tournament. He played a total of 117 games split between the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders.
#2. Markus Näslund, Team Sweden – 24 points
In 1993, Naslund scored an incredible 24 points as a second-year player and 19-year-old. Even more incredible, he wasn’t the leading scorer of that tournament.
Naslund went on to have an incredible NHL career. He was among the most productive NHL players between the years of 2001 and 2004 and did wonderful things for the Vancouver Canucks franchise. He was traded there by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a trade that still gets talked about today.
#1. Peter Forsberg – Team Sweden – 31 points
Outdoing Naslund in that same year was Peter Forsberg who would go on to become one of the NHL’s premier power forwards. He had 31 points, seven of which were goals and 24 assists.
Forsberg averaged an insane 4.429 points per game which is a full point better than any other player in the top five. Amazingly, Team Sweden didn’t win the tournament that year. The earned a silver medal.
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