As the calendar turns to December and the wait for the World Junior Championships changes from weeks to days, many Countries are beginning to release their rosters. With Canada still in quarantine there are no updates on that front, but some of their competition are starting to get the wheels in motion. The Canadiens had about a half dozen prospects vying for their respective National Teams, starting with the obvious, Cole Caufield.
Returning for his second stint with the team, Caufield will look to improve on a last year’s forgettable tournament. With just two points in five games (eliteprospects.com) Caufield came under heavy criticism last year. Personally, I put this more on bad coaching and improper usage. Regardless, a level of responsibility always falls on the player and Caufield took a lot of what happened and internalised it to be better this year. Caufield with Zegras would be a dream come true, either way he should have a prominent role on this team and a dominant tournament.
This is where the Habs contingency on the USA roster ends. Despite having four prospects with a relatively realistic chance of making this roster the Habs fans are left wanting more. Farrell is on fire to start the season, however the Chicago Steel are a wagon so this may have hurt him. Tuch and Boston Univeristy have yet to start the season, so Tuch’s long shot odds never had a chance.
The one that infuriates me is Jayden Struble, and this admittedly is heavily influenced by homerism and bias. Struble made the Northeastern team (a very good hockey program) as a true Freshmen, he was a week away from going possibly Top 10 in this year’s draft. I will say that the US has already had to replace three players from their original roster, including one defenseman. With the COVID-19 restrictions between Canada and the US, a few NCAA players have already been held back by their respective teams so more could be on the way.
The only other Habs prospects currently confirmed on a roster is this year’s Second Round pick, Jan Mysak. While there may be a lack of quantity in this year’s tournament for Habs fans, the quality will excite them. Mysak’s status as a prospect is a highly debated topic as some people think he should have gone in the first while some think he fell right where he should have. Regardless of your opinion of his draft stock, his role on this Czech roster is set in stone.
Mysak will be expected to be a leader, shouldering much of the offensive responsibility of this team. I assume he will slot in as a Center in this tournament despite playing on the Wing for Litvinov (CZE) and he should get a lot of Power Play time as well. Fellow Habs prospect Jakub Dobes did not make the team in the end. Despite his hot start, the small sample size was not enough to get him on this roster but he will be a fun prospect to monitor!
Outside of Team Canada, this is the end of the list for the Habs. Alexander Gordin may have been on Russia’s radar with his start in the MHL, but the Habs did not have much in terms of European prospects. A couple names of note, Finland has inexplicably left potential 2021 top pick Aatu Raty off their roster. Skipping across the border, Sweden is dealing with their own outbreak, as two of their players have dropped out of the tournament.
Karl Henricksson (NYR ’19 2nd) and Willan Eklund (2021) have both tested positive for COVID and will miss this year’s tournament. Henricksson plays for Frolunda which could affect Habs prospect Norlinder, but Eklund is a very unfortunate loss. Eklund and Holtz are basically the last two glimmers of hope on the season for Djurgarden. I was very much looking forward to watching what these two could do together in this tournament. With that being said, I expect a coming out part of sorts for Alexander Holtz. The Sabres are gonna hate to see it.
As a random side note, these pads are sick too!
Before we end things this week, instead of breaking down Kaiden Guhle’s chances to make this roster and I will try to predict Team Canada’s roster. For this I will assume two things:
- Kirby Dach is staying with the team (if you think Jan 1st will happen, you need to stop lying to yourself, 14 weeks x 4 games, ~Jan 10th)
- Alexei Lafreniere is not coming back to this team
For those who are saying a 7th Round Pick can’t start for Team Canada, where was Cayden Primeau drafted again? It’s just a number.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce content! Peeze, Terry and Alex take a break from hockey and bring in a couple of the members of the Hot Sauce Staff to sports and shenanigans! Tune in to hear what fellow members Duke and Will Power give their Spicy Takes on Jake Paul, NBA relationships, and Miami. Of course.
This week on Weekly Sauce! Alex the Intern, Terry sit down with Jack Gotsell from Tarps Off Hockey to talk ‘Bama Football, Habs/Bruins rivalry and drunk athletes. Tune in to find out which Habs player Terry bumped into during a night out on the town!
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