With the World Junior Championship just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the players that will likely make the trip to Halifax and Moncton to play for their national teams.
The 2023 World Junior Championship runs from Dec.26 to Jan 5. You can view the entire schedule by clicking here.
Joshua Roy – Lock
The Montreal Canadiens should be well represented at the upcoming World Junior Championship, which takes place on Dec.26 in Halifax and Moncton.
And the team to watch should be none other than Team Canada, which will potentially have three Canadiens prospects in the lineup.
Joshua Roy will play an important role in Canada’s bid to defend their gold medal.
He’s a returning player, one of the most offensively talented forwards in the QMJHL, and has the potential to become one of the veteran leaders of the club.
Roy played alongside Colton Dach (62nd overall, 2021, Chicago), and Reid Schaeffer (32nd overall, 2022, Edmonton) in Canada’s tuneup win against the USports All-Stars, earning two points, including Canada’s third goal of the game.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 12, 2022
Owen Beck – Favourite
Owen Beck isn’t a shoe-in, but given his versatile skill set, his cerebral approach, and his ability to make an impact at both ends of the ice, it would be surprising if he doesn’t earn a spot on the roster.
It wasn’t Canada’s full roster, but it’s worth noting the second-round pick was placed on Team Canada’s first line, centring Zach Dean (30th overall, 2021, Vegas) and Brennan Othmann (16th overall, 2021, New York Rangers).
Coaches love using well-rounded players in short tournaments, and Beck isn’t just well-rounded, he tends to excel at virtually every aspect of the game.
Beck is the exact type of player you want on the ice in crucial situations.
Riley Kidney – Favourite
The skilled forward is not guaranteed a spot on the roster despite being a point-producing machine, as well as a returning player.
Unfortunately, Kidney had to leave Sunday’s game and did not return to action.
However, sources close to the situation believe Kidney will be healthy in time for Canada’s first game and was kept out of the game against USports for precautionary reasons.
It’s reported to be a lower-body injury and it’s considered a minor injury which shouldn’t prevent Kidney from participating in the tournament.
No Kidney to start the second period here. Could be a tough break for him. Hoping it's not serious. He's a returnee but not a lock, so these games matter for him. The lone Halifax native in the group to and playing at home would mean a lot to him.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 11, 2022
Lane Hutson – Lock
The talented defender went into the season as a longshot to earn a roster spot with Team USA, but thanks to a ridiculous start to his NCAA career, Hutson should be considered a lock.
He probably won’t get first-pairing duties given his age and may end up playing second pairing behind Luke Hughes and Sean Behrens, but the mere fact that the 18-year-old forced his way into the lineup is quite impressive.
This will be Hutson’s first time playing with the U-20 squad, but it’s worth pointing out he earned eight points in six games with the U-18 team last year.
Sony FX3, 4K 120FPS🎥✂️ pic.twitter.com/INgi9RQ3uM
— Bernie Perisie (@bernieperisie) November 20, 2022
Adam Engstrom – Favourite
Engstrom is just about as close as it gets to a lock.
He’s not guaranteed a spot, but given Simon, Edvinsson turned down the invitation to play for Sweden, Engstrom’s odds shot up significantly.
He’s a smooth-skating defenceman and is currently playing on Rogle’s top pairing in the SHL, which means he’s playing difficult minutes against professional hockey players that tend to be much older than him.
The World Junior Championship should give the Canadiens a better idea of how he’s playing against a similar level of competition.
54 William Wallinder (DET) and 56 Adam Engström (MTL) form the youngest defensive pairing in the SHL.
Here are some of their higlights from the last two games. #LGRW #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/Qqbc9N12ho
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) November 29, 2022
Oliver Kapanen – Lock
Not only will Kapanen play an important part in Finland’s bid to improve upon their silver medal from 2022, but he should also be part of the leadership group for his national team.
While wearing the alternate captain patch for Finland, Kapanen earned three goals and two assists in five games, building upon the momentum he gathered while leading all U-20 Liiga players in scoring.
Maalikooste! #NuoretLeijonat ei antanut Ruotsille mahdollisuuksia, loppuluvut Tshekin Ostravassa 6–1.
— Leijonat (@leijonat) November 12, 2022
Vinzenz Rohrer – Lock
Vinzenz Rohrer isn’t just guaranteed a spot on Team Austria, he will play a central role for the organization that’s attempting to avoid relegation.
Rohrer has been one of the Canadiens’ most interesting prospects this season, taking significant development strides with the Ottawa 67’s.
Austria will be the underdog in almost every game they play, which will add to the level of difficulty Rohrer will face, but it will be a good opportunity to see what he can do when he’s the centre of attention.
It remains to be seen if he’ll flourish as former Canadiens prospect Martin Reway did when playing for Slovakia, or whether the challenge of playing against star-studded teams will be too much to overcome for the 18-year-old.
Austria will be without Marco Kasper, which will place the vast majority of the expected offence squarely on Rohrer’s shoulders.
— Ottawa 67’s (@Ottawa67sHockey) November 12, 2022
Filip Mesar – Lock
Mesar has found his goal-scoring touch in recent weeks, which is perfect timing given Slovakia is in for a difficult World Junior Championship tournament.
He will be counted upon to lead the team, both on and off the ice.
Mesar scores his ninth of the season with a beautiful one-timer! Five points in his last three games! Boost of confidence before the WJC!
— Florence Normand (@Florence_1553) December 10, 2022
Unfortunately for Mesar, it’s looking less and less likely his childhood friend and fellow Canadiens first-round pick, Juraj Slafkovsky will be released by the Canadiens.
With the bevy of injuries on the roster, Slafkovsky has finally settled into a top 6 role in the lineup, and the Canadiens feel like he’s done enough with the increased responsibilities that he’d be better off continuing his development in Montreal.
“From what we’ve seen lately from Slaf we’d like to maintain the continuity.” – Martin St. Louis on Juraj Slafkovsky (not) going to world junior championships.
Said he's been getting more puck touches, which shows growth in his game away from the puck.
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 9, 2022