Team Canada has officially announced their roster for the upcoming World Juniors. 25 players will don the red and white Maple Leaf as they look to take home Gold for the 19 th time. Here is a breakdown of the team that will take the ice in Edmonton and Red Deer on Boxing Day.

The Forward Group:

The big news out of Team Canada’s camp was 16-year-old Connor Bedard being named to the team. The pride of North Vancouver will be only the 7th 16-year-old to play for Canada at this tournament.

Although it is unknown what type of role he will play on this team, he is sure to wow fans with his skill and speed.

As for the rest of Team Canada’s forward, they are packed with NHL drafted talent. First rounders like Dylan Guenther, Jake Neighbors, Kent Johnson, Mason McTavish, Xavier Bourgault, Ridley Greig and Cole Perfetti are all expected to play significant roles for this team throughout the tournament. The team also features some later round drafted talent from the WHL in Justin Sourdif and Logan Stankoven who are sure to step up when their country needs them. Overall, this is one of the deepest forward groups in the tournament. The forwards are high skill, fast and can put the puck in the net. Big things are expected from this group and don’t be surprised if a few are near the top of the scoring list by tournaments end.

The Defensive Core:

The big questions going into this tournament is how this defense group will hold up. They only have no right shot defenceman after leaving Brandt Clarke at home and will have players playing their opposite side for the first time in their careers. This could cause for some turnovers at the blueline on the right-hand side as players may not be used to collecting passes on their off side.

The good news is this is a tough group to play against. Players like Owen Power and Kaiden Guhle are expected to play pivotal roles for this team and should be a force on the blueline. As for WHL content, Carson Lambos should have a strong tournament while Olen Zellweger and Ronan Seely will hope their early season play will translate to the international game. Overall, this is a solid group that should be able to help out in the offensive zone throughout the tournament.

The Goaltending:

The big debate is which WHL goaltender is going to start in goal for Canada. Will it be Kamloops’s Dylan Garand who returns after last years bronze medal, or will it be the Edmonton Oil Kings Sebastian Cossa who was a first-round pick last season. Canada is also bringing Brett Brochu of the London Knights, but all eyes will be on the WHL as these two goalies battle it out in the crease.

Based on their play in the WHL, this choice is going to be extremely hard. Both have 15 wins this season but Garand does have a slight advantage when it comes to goals against average and save percentage.

Cossa does have an advantage in saves and games played but what may put Garand over the top is that the coaching staff has seen him play live more than Cossa. Either way, Canada looks solid in net which will be important as the tournament moves into the playoff rounds.

Team Canada Has a Difficult Path to Gold

Canada looks to have a strong team, but is it enough to win gold? They will need to go through either Russia, the USA or Sweden throughout the playoff rounds and will need their entire team to step up game after game. The excitement gets going Boxing Day versus the Czech Republic as Canada looks for their first gold on home ice since 2015.

Team Canada has officially announced their roster for the upcoming World Juniors. 25 players will don the red and white Maple Leaf as they look to take home Gold for the 19 th time. Here is a breakdown of the team that will take the ice in Edmonton and Red Deer on Boxing Day.

The Forward Group:

The big news out of Team Canada’s camp was 16-year-old Connor Bedard being named to the team. The pride of North Vancouver will be only the 7 th 16-year-old to play for Canada at this tournament.

Although it is unknown what type of role he will play on this team, he is sure to wow fans with his skill and speed.

As for the rest of Team Canada’s forward, they are packed with NHL drafted talent. First rounders like Dylan Guenther, Jake Neighbors, Kent Johnson, Mason McTavish, Xavier Bourgault, Ridley Greig and Cole Perfetti are all expected to play significant roles for this team throughout the tournament. The team also features some later round drafted talent from the WHL in Justin Sourdif and Logan Stankoven who are sure to step up when their country needs them. Overall, this is one of the deepest forward groups in the tournament. The forwards are high skill, fast and can put the puck in the net. Big things are expected from this group and don’t be surprised if a few are near the top of the scoring list by tournaments end.

The Defensive Core:

The big questions going into this tournament is how this defense group will hold up. They only have no right shot defenceman after leaving Brandt Clarke at home and will have players playing their opposite side for the first time in their careers. This could cause for some turnovers at the blueline on the right-hand side as players may not be used to collecting passes on their off side.

The good news is this is a tough group to play against. Players like Owen Power and Kaiden Guhle are expected to play pivotal roles for this team and should be a force on the blueline. As for WHL content, Carson Lambos should have a strong tournament while Olen Zellweger and Ronan Seely will hope their early season play will translate to the international game. Overall, this is a solid group that should be able to help out in the offensive zone throughout the tournament.

The Goaltending:

The big debate is which WHL goaltender is going to start in goal for Canada. Will it be Kamloops’s Dylan Garand who returns after last years bronze medal, or will it be the Edmonton Oil Kings Sebastian Cossa who was a first-round pick last season. Canada is also bringing Brett Brochu of the London Knights, but all eyes will be on the WHL as these two goalies battle it out in the crease.

Based on their play in the WHL, this choice is going to be extremely hard. Both have 15 wins this season but Garand does have a slight advantage when it comes to goals against average and save percentage.

Cossa does have an advantage in saves and games played but what may put Garand over the top is that the coaching staff has seen him play live more than Cossa. Either way, Canada looks solid in net which will be important as the tournament moves into the playoff rounds.

Team Canada Has a Difficult Path to Gold

Canada looks to have a strong team, but is it enough to win gold? They will need to go through either Russia, the USA or Sweden throughout the playoff rounds and will need their entire team to step up game after game. The excitement gets going Boxing Day versus the Czech Republic as Canada looks for their first gold on home ice since 2015.

By Adam Kierszenblat

Covering the Vancouver Giants for the Area 51 Sports Network

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