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Top Canadiens Prospects For Habs Fans To Discover At WJC

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Most Montreal Canadiens fans actively follow prospects like Joshua Roy, Filip Mesar and Late Hutson, but there’s a handful of other prospects that fans will have the pleasure of discovering this holiday season.

With the tournament right around the corner, all eyes will be on the future for Canadiens fans, as Montreal will be well-represented at this year’s tournament.

The World Juniors offers these youngsters an intriguing platform to show the world what they can do and rise above projections and expectations in crucial moments.

Among the six Montreal Canadiens prospects at the tournament, three, in particular, should be on fans’ radars this holiday season, as they look to cement their place within the organizational hierarchy of the club.

Vinzenz Rohrer – Austria

Vinzenz Rohrer might not have played during this summer’s World Juniors, but he did partake in two games for Austria last December before the World Juniors were cancelled because of a Covid-19 outbreak.

He chose not to attend this summer’s tournament in order to focus his attention on getting ready for the season, and, so far, it’s paid off.

Rohrer plays a gritty and intense game that becomes even more valuable in elimination situations. So far this season, he’s been a very reliable and clutch player for the Ottawa 67s, putting up 29 points in just 23 games, all while taking important defensive missions for his young club.

Rohrer will be a key piece for Austria, especially with Detroit Red Wings’ 1st rounder Marco Kasper not be attending the tournament. This means Rohrer will be tasked with doing most of the heavy lifting in all situations and will provide him with an excellent opportunity to show that he could put a team on his back and will them to victory.

He’s been a standout for the Ottawa 67s in the OHL so far in his major junior career; a true-born leader that leads by example and never gives up on a play.

The adversity Austria is facing in this tournament will help the youngster make a name for himself, as he looks to help carry his club past the relegation phase.

Oliver Kapanen – Finland

Oliver Kapanen has looked like a player transformed this season in the Finnish Liiga for KalPa. Often seen as a responsible and feisty centre capable of playing in multiple situations, the Montreal Canadiens’ 2021 2nd round pick has seemingly taken his offensive game up a notch and is playing with much more confidence than last season.

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.

Expected to play on the top line with former 1st-round pick Joakim Kemmel, while getting prime power play and penalty killing duties, fans will get a whole lot of Kapanen on their TV screens.

Adam Engstrom – Sweden

Adam Engstrom wasn’t known by many at the 2022 NHL Draft, but he’s certainly gotten the attention of Montreal Canadiens fans early on this season.

Dominating at the J-20 level, Engstrom has begun taking regular shifts in the SHL with Rögle this season and even represented Sweden in an internal friendly tournament in Czechia a few weeks ago.

The experience has gained now, playing in his country’s top league, while many other 18 and 19-year-old defencemen are playing in Hockeyallsvenskan or in the J-20 leagues have been invaluable to Engstrom.

His two-way performances earned him a call from Sweden’s Hockey Federation to represent them at a recent U-20 friendly tournament in Czechia and most recently saw him named to Sweden’s  roster for the World Junior Championships.

“I know we’re missing some players, but I think we have a very good team,” said Engstrom  in a recent interview with Montreal Hockey Now. “I want to go there and do my best and show what I can do.”

Sweden will be without 6th overall pick Simon Edvinsson, amongst others, offering Engstrom even more of an opportunity to not only crack the roster, but hold down a prominent role for the club.

Despite that, Sweden is set to have a very interesting offensive roster this season with multiple former 1st-round picks. Engstrom is hoping to contirbute to the success of the club by focusing on his defence and capitalizing on offensive opportunities.

The youngster remains excited to represent his country and was particularly excited to show Montreal Canadiens fans what he can do in Halifax this holiday season.

GOTTA SEE IT: Canadiens Engstrom Makes Save Of The Year

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