Now we get to the brand new All-Canadian Division. The World Juniors’ Team Canada is looking dangerous, but there are plenty of prospects from across the globe competing in this year’s WJC. In the third part of our series, we’re exploring the North Division.
Team Canada: Jakob Pelletier, Connor Zary
Team Russia: Yan Kuznetsov
Team United States: Dustin Wolf
The prospects for the Flames offer a variety of skill and talent for newcomers to the World Juniors. Both Pelletier and Zary are making their debuts with Team Canada, and will definitely be worth a watch, especially as they complement the other players on the offense. Kuznetsov, a second round pick, currently plays for the University of Connecticut’s hockey team and looking prime for his time with Russia.
If you’re a fan of goalies, I definitely recommend watching Wolf on Team US. He had a 1.88 GAA and a .935 save percentage in the 2019-2020 WHL season for the Everett Silvertips. Team Canada is also going to be fun to watch no matter what, but Pelletier and Zary want to prove themselves on the ice this year with this team. You can’t really go wrong, but I’d say check out Team Canada.
Team Canada: Dylan Holloway
Team Sweden: Philip Broberg
Edmonton Oilers fans have two very solid options to watch this tournament. Holloway is on a very dangerous Canada team, and will be playing on a line with Alex Newhook (COL) and Pelletier (CGY). Meanwhile, Broberg was named Captain of Team Sweden and will have a lot more visibility as a leader on the ice.
Broberg, the 2019 8th overall pick, wants to show he’s nearing his way to the NHL stage, so Oilers fans should check out what he can offer their team in the future.
Team Canada: Kaiden Guhle
Team Czech Republic: Jan Mysak
Team United States: Cole Caufield
While Guhle and Mysak are worthy of attention, Caufield has captured attention for Canadiens fans already. He had 36 points in 36 games in the 2019-2020 season for the University of Wisconsin and is back for his second World Juniors.
Since both Guhle and Mysak were taken in the 2020 NHL Draft, they might have longer ways to go in their development. If Habs fans want some immediacy in their young talent, then they should check out Caufield and Team US.
Team Finland: Roby Jarventie
Team Germany: Tim Stützle
Team United States: Tyler Kleven, Jake Sanderson
Senators fans have some great options for talent to watch this draft, but the spotlight will be on Stützle. The 3rd overall pick in the 2020 draft, he is making his return to the tournament this year after surgery in October. Sens fans should be intrigued to see how he fares, especially since he might make his NHL debut this season.
I’m also going to recommend watching Sanderson. The fifth overall pick in 2020, he scored three points in three games for the University of North Dakota this past season and is making his debut in the tournament this season. I’m personally intrigued to see how he does.
Team Finland: Roni Hirvonen, Mikko Kokkonen, Topi Niemela
Team Russia: Mikhail Abramov, Artur Akhtyamov, Rodion Amirov
While Nick Robertson won’t make an appearance this WJC as he tries to crack the NHL roster, there are still plenty of prospects involved for the Leafs. The player I recommend watching is Amirov, the Leafs only first round pick in the tournament. Fans are curious to see what he brings to the table, especially when they play the stacked Team Canada.
Niemela is also worth a watch. A third round pick, he came out ready in the exhibition matches for Team Finland and earned Finland’s Player of the Game against the United States.
Team Russia: Vasily Podkolzin
Team Sweden: Arvid Costmar
Of the remaining Canucks prospects involved in the tournament, Podkolzin is going to be the one to watch for fans of the team.
The 2019 10th overall pick was named team Captain after earning five points in seven games last championships.
“To me, Vasily (Podkolzin) coming back in year three of the World Juniors, I expect him to be a top guy and a guy to go and lead the way for the Russian Junior team.”Igor Larionov, Team Russia head coach
It looks like he’s going to be seeing NHL ice time soon, so it’ll be good for Canucks fans to get familiar with him now.
Team Canada: Cole Perfetti
Team Finland: Ville Heinola, Henri Nikkanen
While Finland has more prospects, Jets fans are paying attention to Perfetti and they absolutely should be. He’s standing out amongst some very strong talent on the Team Canada roster, and the 10th overall pick is showing his skill early.
For Team Finland, Heinola is already fairly familiar for Jets fans. He appeared in eight contests in the NHL, scoring five points
total. He’s worth a watch as well, but Perfetti and Team Canada are practically necessary viewing.
Before the 2020-2021 season starts back up, fans of Canadian hockey teams have a lot of young stars to be excited about. I’m personally really excited to see how Wolf does for Team US as a Flames prospect, but as I go through the rosters, Team Canada just looks downright unfair. What teams are you rooting for? Which prospects are you keeping an eye on?