The 2004/2005 NHL lockout allowed Canada to ice one of their best World Junior Rosters of all time for the 2005 tournament. The team was stacked with many 19-year-olds who normally would have been playing in the NHL.
Only two players, Sidney Crosby (17) and Cam Barker (18) were under 19.
Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Stewart, Nigel Dawes, Clarke MacArthur, Jeremy Colliton, Colin Fraser, Stephen Dixon and Crosby were the forwards.
Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf, Brent Seabrook, Brayden Coburn, Shawn Belle, Danny Syvret and Barker patrolled the blueline.
Jeff Glass and Rejean Beauchemin were the goalies.
Brent Burns and Nathan Horton were playing in the American Hockey League, and weren’t released to compete in the tournament. Florida Panthers GM, Mike Keenan, said Horton could join the team, but only after the development camp. Team Canada wanted him there for the entire process.
Due to COVID, the NHL and the AHL are on hold, so we could see more players available to play in the upcoming 2021 tournament. But will regular NHLers like Kirby Dach, Kaapo Kakko and Jack Hughes be released by their NHL teams? Currently, the NHL is aiming for a January 1st restart, which means training camps in mid-December. If that holds true, those three, along with Alexis Lafreniere wouldn’t be playing in the tournament.
However, if the start is pushed back, which I think will occur, then those teams will need to decide if they want their young stars playing games. The only negative I see is the risk of injury, and while injuries are rare, Lafreniere was injured in the tournament last year, and I think his injury could increase the chances some of those players, and their NHL teams, will say no.
If Dach and Lafreniere opt-in, Canada’s roster improves instantly. I think Dach will play, as I expect season to begin later in January. Lafreniere, I’m not sure about. I’d want him to play if I was the Rangers, but due to being injured last year I can see why he might consider passing.
For today, I’m going to assume those two aren’t on the roster. Here is a potential lineup. Keep in mind this year the roster has expanded to 22 skaters and three goalies, up from the usual 20 skaters. Teams can only dress 20 skaters, but they can bring 22 this year (birth year, NHL team, and returning players in bold.)
Connor McMicheal (2001, WSH)-Quinton Byfield (2002, LA)-Jack Quinn (2002, BUFF)
Alex Newhook (2001, COL)-Dylan Cozens (2001, BUFF)-Dawson Mercer (2001, NJ)
Cole Perfetti (2002, WGP)-Peyton Krebs (2001, VEG)-Philip Tomasino (2001, NSH)
Dylan Holloway (2001, EDM)-Connor Zary (2001, CGY)-Jamieson Rees (2001, CAR)
Seth Jarvis (2002, CAR), Samuel Poulin (2001, PITT)
Bowen Byram (2001, COL)- Jamie Drysdale (2002, ANA)
Thomas Harley (2001, DAL)-Braden Schneider (2001, NYR)
Matthew Robertson (2001, NYR)-Justin Barron (2001, COL)
Kaiden Guhle (2002, MTL)-Kaeden Korczak (2001, VEG)
Dylan Garand (2002, NYR)
Sebastien Cossa (2002, late bday, 2021 draft eligible)
Taylor Gauthier (2001, undrafted)
There are many other skilled players who could make the team. In June, Hockey Canada announced their list of 41 players invited to the-yet-to-happen development camp.
If Dach and Lafreniere play Canada would be even better. If I’m Chicago GM Stan Bowman or Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, and I get news in November the start of the NHL season is delayed again, I’d strongly encourage these young players to play. It would be less than ideal to have young players not play any competitive games, and while no one wants to think about it, the possibility there is no NHL, AHL, OHL and WHL season is real.
Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway are the only two with a realistic shot to represent their county. Broberg is playing in Sweden and Shelleftea needs to decide if they will loan him for the tournament. If they do, he is a lock to go, and historically Swedish teams have released players to represent their country. There is an excellent chance he will play in Edmonton.
Holloway is 19, can play wing and centre, and I sense he has a very good chance to make it. The challenge for him is he would have to leave Wisconsin two weeks early, and self-quarantine in Canada for 14 days prior to training camp. It isn’t ideal, but I believe he will make the team.
The World Juniors has always been an exciting tournament, but we could see a significant increase in viewers with very little other hockey being played in North America.
Who would you have on your roster?
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