With all the talk of top prospects opting out of the upcoming World Juniors, a few Montreal Canadiens prospects could find themselves representing Canada this summer.
Unique to this calendar year, there will be two World Championship tournaments taking place within four months of each other, as the 2022 World Junior Championships were cancelled and pushed to August due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases at the tournament in late December. Although many of the players that initially made the Team Canada roster in December of 2021 are expected to once again represent their country in August when the tournament is restarted in Edmonton, some of the more mature prospects might decide to pass on the summer tournament.
The reasoning is that the rescheduled World Juniors will start on August 9th and usually lasts between two or three weeks. With NHL Training Camps set to start in mid-September, this would give these youngsters vying for NHL jobs very little time to prepare and could even result in a serious injury; like Kirby Dach did in December of 2020. Players with legit NHL aspirations this upcoming season like Mason McTavish, Cole Perfetti, Kent Johnson and more may decide that it’s not worth the risk and give up their spot in the tournament to play it safe.
Montreal Canadiens Prospects Possibly Representing Canada
That is where this camp becomes very important for a player like Joshua Roy, as he was one of the final cuts from the 2022 Team Canada Selection Camp. The QMJHL’s 2021-2022 leading scorer wowed scouts and fans alike with his MVP-like performance for the Sherbrooke Phoenix down the stretch and could be one of the players Hockey Canada calls on to replace any of their more seasoned players, should they decide to play it safe. He would be an ideal piece for Hockey Canada to bring in for the August tournament, and then again for the regularly scheduled 2023 tournament, being one of the most impactful players in major junior this past year.
Only three players that finished top-10 in the QMJHL scoring race are eligible for the 2023 World Junior Championships: St. Louis Blues’ Zachary Bolduc, Roy and fellow Montreal Canadiens prospect Riley Kidney, who finished 7th in scoring with 100 points Kidney. If Hockey Canada continues to have 19 and 20-year-olds opt out of the tournament, which is becoming the case with other national teams, a player like Kidney might be able to squeak in. Even if Kidney doesn’t make the roster this August, he will have to make a great impression on Hockey Canada’s executive leading up to the 2023 World Junior Championships, as he stands a good chance of being in the mix for one of the 13 forwards spots available this upcoming winter.
Owen Beck, the Montreal Canadiens’ 2nd round pick in 2022, is also at Hockey Canada’s camp as well, but the 18-year-old will likely have to wait his turn for his opportunity to represent Canada on the larger stage. He possesses the qualities that every coach loves during these types of tournaments but doesn’t have the experience yet to be able to hold down such a role for Canada at the U-20 level.