Photo credit:Instagram via @zlodeev36
Previewing which Canucks’ prospects will play at the World Junior Championships
By Faber2 years ago
It is almost that wonderful time of year where the best U20 players come together for a magical tournament known as the World Junior Championships.
Preliminary rosters are being released for each nation’s group of teens that will represent their country at the WJC.
Here are the Canucks’ prospects that will be there and some that didn’t make the cut.
Basically a lock to make the team
Dmitri Zlodeyev, Russia
The Canucks took a late-round swing on the undersized Russian centre in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. It’s been a busy hockey season for Dmitri Zlodeyev. He’s been traded, made the KHL, and in a few weeks, he will represent Russia at the world juniors.
Zlodeyev is a loaded toolbelt type of player. He does a good job in the faceoff dot, can be effective on the power play, but most importantly, he is a very capable penalty killer and should get a lot of time on the PK for Russia.
Making Russia’s world junior team is a big deal for anyone and as a sixth-round pick, it’s a big win for the Canucks’ scouting staff. Zlodeyev is expected to be a third or fourth-line centre for Russia. He is a streaky scorer and could be a game-changer in the tournament if he hits one of his hot streaks.
To go with his on-ice skills, he has been a leader on almost every junior team he has played on. He learned from Vasily Podkolzin last year when they played on multiple U20 teams. Zlodeyev knew that Podkolzin was going to crack the NHL this year. Zlodeyev learned a lot about leadership from Podkolzin last year.
It wouldn’t surprise many who follow Russian hockey to see Zlodeyev be wearing a leadership letter for Russia at the tournament. It’s pretty unlikely that he gets the captaincy but he has worn a C for Russia in the past but is more consistently an assistant captain.
On the bubble to make the team
Jacob Truscott, U.S.A.
It’s come as a bit of a surprise to see Jacob Truscott’s name pop up on the United States’ preliminary roster. One of the big reasons why Truscott is in consideration is because of how versatile of a defenceman he is.
Truscott made massive changes to his game as he made the jump from the United States National Team Development Program to the NCAA, where he plays for the powerhouse Michigan team. Truscott is relied upon to be a penalty killer for Michigan while also showing that he is comfortable playing on either the left or right side as a defenceman.
It’s most definitely not a lock that Truscott makes the team but he has had a good year with Michigan and has a chance to be the 4-7th defenceman on this team with a good camp. His versatility to play both sides and also kill penalties will help him make this team. The names that are definitely a lock to make the team as defencemen are Brock Faber, Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven. After those three, there’s a lot of fo competition with Truscott being in the mix with Luke Hughes, Scotty Morrow and Wyatt Kaiser, to name a few.
We will have to wait and see if the Canucks’ fifth-rounder from 2020 can impress the coaches enough and make the team.
Didn’t get invited to the team in their final year of eligibility
Joni Jurmo, Finland
The Canucks’ top pick from the 2020 draft was not invited to Finland’s preliminary camp. Joni Jurmo has looked okay in the Liiga this year but Finland has a lot of good U20 defencemen to select from. Jurmo has just not progressed as well as some hoped that a big and strong 18-year-old who skated well for his size would.
Hugo Gabrielson, Sweden
As a late-round pick with an early birthday, Hugo Gabrielson did not receive an invite to Sweden’s camp. He has had a low-scoring year in the Allsvenskan but was also loaned to the SHL for one game.
Gabrielson shows some potential as a two-way defenceman but has not put up impressive numbers as he made the jump to the Swedish second division this year. If he can continue to track towards being a full-time SHL defenceman for next season, that will be exciting. As for this year’s world juniors, he simply has not done enough to get on Sweden’s radar.
Jackson Kunz, U.S.A.
The high-scoring winger has not been able to translate his scoring touch from the USHL to NCAA just yet and therefore did not generate enough hype to get an invite to USA’s team.
He has two goals and two assists in 11 games with the University of North Dakota.
Didn’t get invited to camp but have another year of eligibility
Connor Lockhart, Canada
He has battled injury and is Canadian.
Lockhart is playing on a pretty bad Erie Otters team in the OHL. He has five points and 10 assists in 15 games so far.
Canada is loaded with talent as per usual. Lockhart can play for Canada next year as he has a January birthday, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can crack the squad as a late-round pick next year.
Lucas Forsell, Sweden
As of six weeks ago, Lucas Forsell didn’t hear from team Sweden at all about representing them at the world juniors. Since then, he has been consistently getting over 15 minutes a night in the SHL and scored his first career SHL goal. The 18-year-old is beginning to turn some heads and after seeing names like Elias Stenman, Åke Stakkestad and Albert Sjöberg invited to camp, Forsell’s omission doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Forsell has shown a ton of skill in the J20 leagues and is one of 11 Swedish U20 forwards to play and score a goal in the SHL the season.
He should be on the team next year and I’ll be speaking with him later this week to hear if he knows why he was not selected.
Jonathan Myrenberg, Sweden
He’s played 10 games in the SHL this season but Sweden once again has a stacked defence core for the world juniors.
Myrenberg is trending in the right direction and should represent his country at next year’s world juniors. Both he and Forsell will be big contributors to Sweden next year.
Aku Koskenvuo, Finland
Don’t let David Quadrelli fool you, Aku Koskenvuo has not done enough to make Finland’s world junior team this year.
We’ve got a lot of confidence in the goalie that Ian Clark selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Koskenvuo boasts a .875% save percentage through 14 games. He has not allowed a goal in two games of international U20 competition and could be a potential starter for Finland next year at the WJC.
Koskenvuo will be attending Harvard next year and it’ll be nice to follow his games at a reasonable time instead of waking up at 3 AM to see him play in the Finnish league this season.
Belarus isn’t in the world juniors
Danila Klimovich, Belarus
Belarus isn’t a part of this year’s world juniors. If they were, Danila Klimovich may have been the captain and surely would have been one of their best players.
That wraps up all you need to know about the Canucks’ world junior players this year. It looks as though we may only see one Canucks’ prospect at the world juniors this year. There is hope down the road with players like Forsell, Myrenberg and Koskenvuo looking like they have a good chance of representing the Canucks next year.
For now, it’s going to be Zlodeyev and maybe Truscott.
It feels like the right year to root very hard for Canada.
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