I know some of you can't even name five German players let alone five that will be worth watching at the 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa... but that's what The Pipeline Show is here for! Here are five guys I think will be standouts for the Germans, not that I expect the Black forest country to get a medal or anything.
5 - Denis Reul (D)
Listen... don't expect miracles from Reul but if you're looking for a big, tough, stay at home blueliner then this guy fits the bill. The Bruins drafted him in the 5th round back in 2007 and he's been playing in the QMJHL with Lewiston ever since. Honestly, I just think the guy looks more than a little frightening and if he's half as capable on the ice then the 6'4 226 Lbs behemoth should do just fine.
4 - Conor Morrison (F)
Born in Switzerland but raised in Canada, Morrison is the son of Toronto Maple Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting. Morrison can be found playing for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the BCHL but dressed for German at the 2008 WJAC in Camrose and played his way onto the WJC with his performance there. He's not big but he's got some offence in him and obviously he's not out of play skating on the smaller ice.
3 - Rupprich Stephen (F)
One of two guys who really stood out for me at the 2008 WJAC in Camrose. He had a lot more hair there than he does in this picture and in fact reminded me a lot of Robert Lang in the way he appeared on the ice. That said, he's not big either but showed a ton of heart and fire playing for the Germans in Camrose. He's playing in the DEL (top German men's league) but doesn't have any points in 27 games. Still, as a junior he showed me in person that he's worth paying attention to.
2 - Toni Ritter (F)
This was the guy in Camrose and not Jerome Flaake of the Maple Leafs who will also be in Ottawa but isn't on my list here. He's 6'3 and is around 200 lbs and was dynamite for Germany in the Junior A event. Right after that tournament he moved to the Montreal Juniors of the QMJHL where he has put up 5 points in 10 games. He's 18-years-old and undrafted but seriously, a decent showing in Ottawa and I won't be the least bit surprised if he gets some attention this June as a late round pick.
1 - Timo Pielmeier (G)
San Jose liked him enough to use a 3rd round draft pick on him, which may not mean much since the Sharks end up drafting 90% of the decent Germans anyway, but Pielmeier has shown worthy of the hype. He's moved to Shawinigan from St. John's but in his second QMJHL season he has a 19-6 record with a .926 save percentage and 2.51 goals against average. Every once in a while you will see a team pull off a major upset thanks to a hot goalie who stands on his head. THIS could be the guy to do it this year.