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Canadiens Prospects Heating Up, Impact On World Junior Rosters

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Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck

The World Junior selection camps will begin at the end of the month, and a few Montreal Canadiens prospects are heating up just at the right time.

The expectation is for eligible prospects for the tournament to be released at the end of November to attend their country’s respective selection camps.

Most teams usually have a list by now of players they’d like to invite; one that was set in place during the summer during their respective development camps.

That being said, early season progression is sometimes taken into consideration if the player’s impact hits another level; and it seems the Canadiens have a few youngsters that are doing just that.

Here are the Montreal Canadiens prospects that are heating up just at the right time:

 

Three Canadiens on Team Canada?

The Montreal Canadiens will have quite a few options available to Hockey Canada when it comes to building out their roster. The returning Joshua Roy played a big part in helping the 2022 edition of Team Canada secure a goal medal in Edmonton this summer, especially during the medal rounds. There’s also Riley Kidney, who is putting up an MVP performance for the Acadie-Bathurst Titans this season who will be in the cards for a top-9 role as well after being the extra forward at this summer’s tournament.

When asked to project the roster, TSN analyst and former Calgary Flames general manager Craig Button released his early projections for the potential 2023 Team Canada World Junior Championship roster, which featured Roy and Kidney on it; a good sign that both should be returning to wearing the maple leaf this winter.

However, Owen Beck‘s play as of late is making this a much tougher conversation than Hockey Canada likely expected back in July. After a slow start to the OHL season, Beck has exploded offensively, posting ten goals and nine assists for 19 points in just 12 games. He currently ranks third in the OHL so far this season with a 1.58 points-per-game ratio, and, despite his offensive excellence, Beck remains one of the best defensive players in the league right now.

If he continues to play this well, he may punch his ticket to Team Canada’s selection camp.

American Sensation

Lane Hutson was one of the final cuts from the 2022 roster for Team USA this summer and is a virtual lock to make the team with the way he’s played in his first month of NCAA competition.

His three goals and five assists through seven games have been notable, as he’s been a major factor in Boston University’s success so far this season.

Beyond just his offence, Hutson’s ability to thrive against bigger and more physical competition could see him not only crack Team USA’s roster, but play a prominent role for the team, and not just that of power play specialist behind Luke Hughes.

Got More Finnish

Oliver Kapanen continues to impress this season in the Finnish Liiga for KalPa, as one of the top point producer U-20 players in the league. He’s playing with more confidence and is displaying more speed and jump in his game; which allows him to get to the puck quicker and keep the puck longer than he has in the past.

In 19 games this season, Kapanen has three goals and six assists and is currently in Czechia with Team Finland’s U-20 squad partaking in a friendly tournament. As a returning member of the Finnish squad, Kapanen will be asked to play some important minutes this time around and will likely be looked to as one of the leaders on the team.

His experience and ability to play sound, two-way hockey will be valuable to the club that will be undergoing some significant turnover from their 2022 edition. It will be interesting to see if he’s placed in a more offensive situation this time around.

Making a Statement

Speaking of the U-20 tournament in Czechia, Adam Engstrom is also partaking in that tournament for Sweden.

Although his offensive game may have cooled down while playing for Rögle in the SHL this season, Engstrom has shown positive signs in being able to play a reliable and smart overall game as a bottom-pair defenceman.

The experience he’s gaining now, playing in his country’s top league, while many others play in Hockeyallsvenskan or in the J-20 leagues will be very valuable to Engstrom, especially as it pertains to Sweden’s roster for the World Juniors.

He’s done nothing but increase his stock since the start of the season and it would be surprising at this point if he’s not amongst the the final eight candidates for a role on the backend of Team Sweden come December.

 

Other Notable Players

  • Filip Mesar is a lock to play for Slovakia at the World Juniors, and it remains to be seen whether the Montreal Canadiens would dare loan Juraj Slafkovsky as well, given his low usage under Martin St-Louis.
  • Vinzenz Rohrer is also a lock for Austria, as he was invited to be part of the roster this summer, but declined in order to prepare for the upcoming season.
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Robert Goudreau

Hutson is not behind luke Hughes, but in front of him offensivelly.

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