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Canadiens Prospects Expected Roles At 2023 WJC

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Canadiens prospect FIlip Mesar Slovakia

Six members of the Montreal Canadiens prospect pool are expected to take part in the upcoming World Junior Championship, which gets underway on Dec.26.

Let’s take a look at their projected roles for their national teams, starting with the defending gold medalists.

Canada – Joshua Roy

Unfortunately, both Riley Kidney and Owen Beck were among the last cuts on the Canadian roster. Kidney, in particular, went through a tough time. Not only was he injured in a tournament warmup game against the USports All-Stars, but the tournament itself takes place in his hometown, Halifax.

Fortunately for Canadiens fans, high-scoring prospect Joshua Roy is expected to play a prominent role for Team Canada.

In the tuneup games against USports, Roy played alongside Kidney and one of the top prospects in the upcoming Draft, Adam Fantilli, as well as Dallas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven.

He’s expected to enjoy a fair amount of power play usage, though due to the strength of Canada’s roster, he is not guaranteed to be on the first wave of the man advantage.

As a returning player that played a key role for Team Canada in August by scoring three goals and five assists in eight games, expect Roy to be an important member of the Canadian leadership group that is hell-bent on defending their gold medal.

United States – Lane Hutson

The United States has not confirmed their World Junior Championship just yet, however, it’s safe to assume one of the most exciting players in the NCAA, Lane Hutson, will make the cut.

Hutson went from a longshot to a shoo-in due to his ridiculous scoring pace with the Boston University Terriers. In just 16 games this season Hutson has scored seven goals and 11 assists.

The USA will count upon Luke Hughes to lead the charge on the backend, and Hutson may end up playing second fiddle to Colorado Avalanche prospect Sean Behrens.

Hutson may end up on the second pairing, as well as the second power-play unit, but regardless of where the chips may fall, the 18-year-old Canadiens prospect is expected to play an important role for the Americans thanks to his mobility, nose for the net, and playmaking.

Finland – Oliver Kapanen

Finland will look to avenge their loss to Canada in the 2022 gold-medal game, and they’ll have a very strong roster in place to ensure they’re among the favourites in the tournament.

As a 19-year-old, Kapanen will likely play a part in Finland’s leadership group, as well as being an important source of secondary, or perhaps even tertiary offence, whereas Brad Lambert and Joakim Kemell are expected to do most of the heavy lifting

Given he has spent the last two seasons playing professional hockey against much older opponents, the World Junior Championship is a perfect opportunity to gauge Kapanen’s progress against players in his development age range.

Kapanen scored three goals and two assists in five games for Finland during their WJC tuneup tournament in mid-November.

Austria – Vinzenz Rohrer

With 2022 first-round pick Marco Kasper declining the invite, things have gotten a little more complicated for Austria.

Simply put, Vinzenz Rohrer’s role on Team Austria will be…everything.

He’ll be used in every situation and should enjoy a very healthy amount of ice time.

He’ll be Austria’s leader, the most potent offensive weapon they have, as well as a player his coach can lean upon in crucial situations.

Slovakia – Filip Mesar

Juraj Slafkovsky is not expected to make the trip to Halifax, however, another Canadiens 2022 first-round pick will.

Filip Mesar is expected to be one of the most utilized Slovak forwards, which is perfect timing seeing as the sniper recently found his scoring rhythm in OHL.

He should figure among Slovakia’s offensive catalysts throughout the tournament, supported by fellow first-round pick Simon Nemec, and forward Adam Sykora.

Thanks to just one win against Latvia and a -16 goal differential, Slovakia missed the playoff round in 2022. They’ll be looking to avenge their poor showing with a stronger 2023 World Junior Championship squad.

Sweden – Adam Engstrom

The smooth-skating defenceman wasn’t originally expected to play an important role for Sweden, but seeing as Simon Edvinsson turned down his country’s invitation, Engstrom may end up having more responsibility than anticipated.

He’s not expected to play on the top pairing, or the first power play unit, but due to his smooth skating and creativity in the offensive zone, don’t be surprised if Engstrom ends up providing a tertiary source of offence for Sweden.

MUST READ: Adam Engstrom Impressing In Sweden

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habbernack

Re: Lane Hudson This is an under 20 tourney and he’s playing against players who are a little older. I’ll be watching all USA games for sure. GHG

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