The Montreal Canadiens look primed to have some noteworthy prospects attending the 2024 World Junior Championships.
The Canadiens may be pegged to be a basement-dwelling team by the most recent odds found on Fanduel Sportbooks, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be members of the organization playing meaningful hockey this Holiday Season.
With the tournament taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden this year, national selections camps are set to begin any day now.
Unfortunately, David Reinbacher and Vinzenz Rohrer will not be attending this year due to Austria’s demotion to Division 1. The Austrians lost a three-game, relegation series against Latvia during last year’s tournament and thus will not be in Gothenburg this year.
Let’s take a look a who is likely to be representing the Montreal Canadiens at this year’s event:
To no surprise, Filip Mesar will be representing Slovakia once again at the 2024 World Juniors.
The former 1st-round pick has had a monster season for the Kitchener Rangers so far this season, posting 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points in just 15 games so far this season.
Mesar is expected to be one of Slovakia’s most important pieces, alongside Simon Nemec and Dalibor Dvorsky.
After a crushing overtime defeat at the hands of Team Canada last year in the semi-finals, there are big expectations for this to be the year that Slovakia finally returns home with a medal.
MONEY. MEŠÁR. 💸💸💸
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) December 2, 2023
After being an emergency recall for Team Canada after the injury to Colton Dach in the late stages of the tournament, Owen Beck fit in seamlessly and made his mark when it mattered most.
The versatile forward can not only impact a game offensively, but also possesses a very mature game and has one of the faceoff success rates in all of major junior.
It would be shocking to see Beck excluded from the roster, given his experience; likely starting on the fourth line to begin the tournament.
But, if he does crack the roster, it wouldn’t be surprising if he quickly climbed the depth chart given his history of clutch performances and his exceptional Hockey IQ.
Owen Beck takes matters into his own hands 👀
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) December 1, 2023
Jacob Fowler is having himself quite the rookie season in the NCAA so far this season.
The 19-year-old is posting some great numbers, with a 0.931 save percentage and a 1.98 goals against average.
In a vacuum, he’s been the best American goaltender eligible for this tournament so far this season, but that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily get the starter job right off the bat.
Trey Augustine, who was Team USA’s starting goaltender at both the 2023 World Juniors and the 2023 U-18s, has the experience and familiarity with the United States National Development Program (USNDP) working for him, as well as a stellar track-record during those tournaments to boot.
That being said, expect both goaltenders to make the roster and have the chance to prove they deserve the starter’s net.
This is a big time stop.
— BC Men's Hockey (@BC_MHockey) December 2, 2023
Lane Hutson will be finally be unleashed against players his own age on the international stage.
During last year’s tournament, Hutson took a backseat due to Luke Hughes receiving most, if not all, the offensive deployment from the back-end. However, when Team USA needed a goal in the third period, it was Hutson who was quickly promoted to play with Hughes to try to generate some offence for his club.
This year, it will be Hutson’s turn to shine as he will undoutedly be the top defenceman for Team USA, while being deployed on the top power-play with the likes of Cutter Gauthier, Frank Nazar, Will Smith and more.
What will be interesting, however, will be how he factors in to the defensive side of things and whether or not he will be able o not only generate against the best U-20 players in the world, but also shut them down in the process.
#gohabsgo Lane Hutson cooking at the point again, this time tipped in by Lachance to put BU up 3-0.
Two-point night going for Hutson in the second period. pic.twitter.com/EPFOzEiezW
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) December 2, 2023
*Montreal Canadiens fans, rest assured that Montreal Hockey Now will have full coverage of the 2024 World Juniors. Let the games begin!