With the World Junior Championships officially under way and Team Canada looking to win the tournament, it’s worth taking a closer look at the roster to see who made the final cut. An early injury shifted things a touch, but as Canada opens up the tournament with a decisive win over Team Germany, it’s worth examining the team from each position to see just how strong they might be.
Canada opened their tournament on Saturday as defending champions and the group of young men are looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time since winning five straight World Junior titles from 2005-2009.
Here is the full roster, the final roster for the team:
Team Canada Goaltenders
- Devon Levi
- Dylan Garand
- Taylor Gauthier
Canada’s biggest weakness might be between the pipes but Team Canada went with three goaltenders who have previous World Junior experience. All of Devon Levi, Dylan Garand, and Taylor Gauthier have represented Team Canada before. Levi got the start in goal for Canada in their first official tournament game.
That said, the other netminders have some great experience that could have made them legitimate candidates to start as well. Gauthier spent time at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup where he won a gold medal, Garand won a silver in the same tournament the following year and Levi represented Canada East at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge. He went 28-10-3 while registering a 2.21 goals against average and .921 SV%.
Team Canada Defensemen
The list of blueliners for Team Canada consists of the following names:
- Justin Barron
- Bowen Byram
- Jamie Drysdale
- Kaiden Guhle
- Thomas Harley
- Kaedan Korczak
- Braden Schneider
- Jordan Spence
While the strength and depth of Team Canada might come among their forward corps, this year’s blue line group provides a nice variety of puck movers and steady defense. The only real knock on the group is that it features five right shots and three left shots.
The group is highlighted by Bowen Byram and Jamie Drysdale. It is likely the two will play as Team Canada’s one and two. Both can quarterback the power play and should lead the team in most time on-ice categories.
Byram is a prospect of the Colorado Avalanche and a stud for Team Canada through which a lot of the production runs. He’s an excellent puck mover, strong skater and can produce points with regularity. He’s a returning player for Team Canada.
Drysdale is an Anaheim Ducks prospect and is also strong offensively with an underrated defensive game. Drysdale is a calming presence for the group.
Justin Barron and Braden Schneider might be two other names to watch as the tournament rolls along.
Team Canada Forwards
- Quinton Byfield
- Dylan Cozens
- Kirby Dach (injured)
- Dylan Holloway
- Peyton Krebs
- Connor McMichael
- Dawson Mercer
- Alex Newhook
- Jakob Pelletier
- Cole Perfetti
- Jack Quinn
- Ryan Suzuki
- Philip Tomasino
- Connor Zary
The forward group took a hit when it was learned that Kirby Dach was going to miss the tournament with a wrist injury, but the forward corps is so deep, Team Canada shouldn’t be drastically affect by the loss of their captain. The group made up for his loss by naming Bryam and Dylan Cozens as co-captains.
Interesting stat: All of the forwards selected to the team this year are NHL first-round draft picks.
At left wing, Team Canada boasts Cole Perfetti (Jets), Dylan Holloway (Oilers), Connor Zary (Flames), and Jack Quinn (Sabres) — who scored 52 goals in the Ontario League last season. Zary is a talented scoring forward who scored 86 points in 57 WHL games last season for the Kamloops Blazers. He’s expected to play on a line with Byfield and could establish himself as a player to watch.
At center, the squad consists of Connor McMichael (Capitals), Alex Newhook (Avalanche), Quinton Byfield (Kings), Ryan Suzuki (Hurricanes) and Dawson Mercer (Devils). Byfield is the 2nd overall pick from the 2020 NHL Draft and will likely join the Los Angeles Kings this season when the tournament is over. He’s a returning player who didn’t wow anyone last year, but should be motivated and more equipped to explode this time around.
On right wing: Petyon Krebs (Golden Nights), Dylan Cozens (Sabres), Jakob Pelletier (Flames) and Phil Tomasino (Predators).
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