Canadian NHL groups can have lots to observe at World Juniors

There’s no method round it; this WJC goes to have some distinguished MIAs.

August is clearly wonky timing for a World Junior Championship, because the 2022 occasion that was slated to happen eight months in the past in Edmonton however needed to be shut down due to COVID-19 will now run from Tuesday by means of Aug. 20 in Northern Alberta.

Had the unique plan labored out, we would have been launched to Juraj Slafkovsky six weeks earlier than his breakout on the Olympics or seen Shane Wright step up in an enormous second and show his rising record of doubters final winter improper. Because it stands, neither of these gamers — the previous now a first-overall choose of the Montreal Canadiens and the latter giftwrapped at fourth total for the Seattle Kraken — will symbolize their nations in Edmonton as their focus shifts to being prepared for the opening of NHL camps within the again half of September.

Additionally out of this WJC for Canada are 2021 first-overall choose Owen Energy of the Buffalo Sabres, high-flying Winnipeg Jets prospect Cole Perfetti and the man who was set to put on the ‘C’ for the house workforce again at Christmastime, Habs defenceman Kaiden Guhle.

And, after all, with Russia suspended from the match we received’t see the wizardry of 2023 draft-eligible winger Matvei Michkov, who’s billed as the perfect participant to come back out of that nation since Alex Ovechkin 20 years in the past.

All isn’t misplaced, although. First off, ingesting in world-class hockey whereas doubtlessly sitting beside a pool sounds simply high-quality. And, even with these absences, there’s nonetheless loads of purpose for followers of Canadian NHL golf equipment to get amped throughout these canine days of summer season. With that in thoughts — and with some remaining cuts more likely to come on Sunday — right here’s a peak at how the seven north-of-the-Forty ninth squads can be represented at this make-up occasion.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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Ahead Matthew Knies has seemed like a steal ever because the Leafs chosen him within the second spherical in 2021. After a point-per-game freshman season on the College of Minnesota, he’ll put on Crew USA’s colors at this occasion, simply as he did on the Olympic Video games in February.

Like the opposite Arizona-born Matthew(s) in Toronto’s group, Knies has an enormous body, which provides him tantalizing power-forward potential.

On the again finish, 20-year-old Topi Niemela can be a fixture on the Finnish blueline. A 3rd-rounder in 2020, Niemela’s inventory has been on the rise the previous two years and he simply completed up a full season skating for Karpat in Finland’s high circuit.

Small-but-spunky centre Roni Hirvonen — a second-rounder in 2020 — will be a part of Niemela on Crew Finland.

Montreal Canadiens

Certain, there’s disappointment that neither Slafkovsky or Guhle — who grew up simply outdoors Edmonton in Sherwood Park — will lace ’em up. Heck, even Montreal’s second first-rounder this 12 months, Slafkovsky’s Slovakian countryman Filip Mesar, is taking a go. Nonetheless, the Habs determine to have 5 guys sporting their nations’ colors when this tourney kicks off.

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Probably the most intriguing Montreal prospect right here is unquestionably Canadian Joshua Roy. After seeing his inventory plummet in his draft-eligible 12 months — Roy fell to the fifth spherical in 2021 — the Sherbrooke Phoenix winger led the Quebec Main Junior Hockey League in scoring with 119 factors final 12 months, then adopted that up with 23 extra in 11 post-season outings. Riley Kidney truly topped that league in assists with 70 this previous season and whereas the second-rounder from 2021 might need a restricted position on Canada, he’s there nonetheless.

Two Canadiens picks additionally seem on Finland’s roster. Oliver Kapanen’s calling card is his two-way sport as a centre, whereas D-man Petteri Nurmi was taken in Spherical 7 this 12 months after being handed over the primary two instances he was out there within the draft.

Jan Mysak, a second-rounder in 2020, is coming off a Memorial Cup look with the Hamilton Bulldogs and the centre can be a key determine on Czechia’s entry.

In fact, Canadiens followers are praying they may be watching a future Hab in 2023 NHL Draft headliner Connor Bedard. Montreal would seem like the one one of many Canadian golf equipment to have legit lottery hopes of touchdown the phenom from North Vancouver, who’ll certainly be placing on a present in Edmonton.

Ottawa Senators

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Not solely has Ottawa had a killer low season, now its supporters get to observe a handful of potential future Senators do their factor on the WJC.

Ahead Ridly Greig’s feisty model goes to endear him to Canadian followers throughout this match, however solely Ottawa followers will get to maintain loving him as soon as he will get to the NHL. The twenty eighth total choose within the 2020 draft was third within the Western Hockey League this previous season with a points-per-game mark of 1.62. Winger Zack Ostapchuk (thirty ninth total in 2021) can be on the fringes of the Canadian roster.

Just like the Leafs and Habs, the Sens have a pair of representatives on Finland. Goalie Leevi Merilainen, a third-rounder in 2020, didn’t have nice stats throughout his first and solely Ontario Hockey League marketing campaign this previous 12 months, however that doesn’t preclude him from being an element for the Finns at this match. In the meantime, six-foot-three Roby Jarventie confirmed extraordinarily nicely as a 19-year-old this previous winter within the American Hockey League, netting 33 factors in 70 contests for the Belleville Senators. The thirty third total choice in 2020 could possibly be an absolute drive for the Finns in Edmonton.

Rounding out the Ottawa contingent, hulking D-man Tyler Kleven — a second-rounder in 2020 and a teammate of high Sens prospect Jake Sanderson the previous two years on the College of North Dakota — will line up on Crew USA’s blueline.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks acquired Jonathan Lekkerimaki fifteenth total a month in the past on the draft in Montreal and plenty of Vancouver supporters have been doing cartwheels ever since. This younger man already has one main worldwide incident on his resume this 12 months, having registered 4 factors in Sweden’s gold medal-game victory over a favoured Crew USA squad on the U-18 World Championship in Might. In the event you’re betting a nickel on the place a few of the nicest objectives of this match will come from, think about inserting it on Lekkerimaki.

Ought to the Swedes face Finland within the medal spherical — they received’t see one another within the round-robin — Joni Jurmo could be one of many guys making an attempt to thwart Lekkerimaki. The six-foot-four D-man wasn’t chosen till the third spherical of the 2020 draft, however was truly Vancouver’s first choice that 12 months.

Winnipeg Jets

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The journey to discovering out if Brad Lambert was the steal of the 2022 first spherical begins now. Winnipeg acquired Lambert thirtieth total, regardless of the very fact the Finn — who’s a late birthday, so we’ve been speaking about him for some time — was for lengthy stretches projected to be a top-10, even doubtlessly top-5 choose. His depressing 10-point Liiga 12 months is a reminiscence now; what can he do in Edmonton to fireplace up the hype prepare once more?

Whereas there’s far much less flash in Daniel Torgersson’s sport, the big-bodied winger — a second-rounder in 2020 — might convey some heft to Sweden’s lineup.

Edmonton Oilers

The host metropolis followers would have somewhat extra to get enthusiastic about if 2021 first-rounder Xavier Bourgault made himself out there to Crew Canada, however the winger is on the lengthy record of high-quality gamers who determined this occasion didn’t dovetail along with his finest low season preparation plan.

Because it stands, the 2 guys followers in Oil Nation can regulate are a pair of defencemen drafted just some weeks in the past. Finn Joel Maatta — who performs for Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft’s brother, Todd, on the College of Vermont — was a seventh-rounder after being handed over the primary couple instances he was eligible for the NHL Draft. In the meantime, huge German Luca Munzenberger — additionally a Vermont freshman this previous 12 months — was a third-rounder in Montreal.

Calgary Flames

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The Flames have only a single participant within the WJC combine, nevertheless it’s one. Matt Coronato was the thirteenth participant chosen within the 2021 draft and he had a powerful freshman 12 months at Harvard this previous season, registering 18 objectives and 18 assists for 36 factors in 34 contests. The high-energy centre is the sort of participant who might present a constant spark to Crew USA.

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