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Feb 23Is Filip Zadina the best forward in the 2018 NHL Draft?
Feb 21A beginner’s guide to prospect development in the United States
Feb 19Maple Leafs’ Russian prospect looks ready for North America
Feb 15Will the star-studded, new-look Frontenacs be a playoff threat?
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December 05, 2017

Canada no longer dominates the WJC like they used to 

In the 2000s, Canada had an incredible run of dominance at the World Junior Championships. 

They had a streak of five gold medals in a row between 2005 and 2009, featuring spectacular moments like Jordan Eberle’s last-second tying goal against Russia in 2009, Jonathan Toews’ shootout magic against the United States in 2007, and Matt Halischuk’s surprising overtime goal against Sweden to win gold in 2008. 

Between 2000 and 2010, Canada medaled in every single tournament, winning gold five times, silver three times, and bronze twice. But since the turn of the decade, Canada’s run of dominance has dried up. 

Last year, Canada dropped a heartbreaking gold medal game in Montreal to their bitter rivals from below the 49th parallel. Canada blew two different two-goals leads and ended up losing in a shootout to the Americans, who have dominated the rivalry over the past couple years. With the United States beating Canada in a World Junior Summer Showcase game back in August, the Americans have now beaten Canada in five-consecutive full-squad U20 games dating back to a Boxing Day victory at the 2016 tournament in Helsinki. 

That tournament in Helsinki was a nightmare for the Canadians. Canada went 1-1-2 in the group stage, losing games to both Sweden and the United States before getting dropped in the quarterfinal by Finland, who went on to win the tournament in front of their home fans. Canada’s sixth-place finish in Helsinki was the country’s worst result since 1998 when the team finished eighth. That was the year the team suffered its infamous, embarrassing loss to a Kazakstan team in which players were apparently wearing skates that didn’t match in the placement game. 

The 2016 sixth-place finish is certainly the low point for Team Canada recently, but the 2010s have been nowhere near as kind to them as the previous decade. After their aforementioned streak in the 2000s in which they medalled in every single tournament, Canada has won just four medals, one gold, two silvers, and one bronze, in the last seven tournaments. 


Connor McDavid celebrates in 2015. Photo: Bildbyrån/Joel Marklund

This year in Buffalo, Canada will look for its first gold medal win since 2015, when the team featured a generational talent in Connor McDavid and a loaded roster of first-round picks like Sam Reinhart, Max Domi, Josh Morrissey, and Darnell Nurse. 

The team rolling into Buffalo will be built around a decent yet unspectacular core of returning players. Carter Hart is set to play in goal again, Jake Bean, Kale Clague, and Dante Fabbro are poised to man the blueline, while only Taylor Raddysh and Dillon Dubé appear to be the team’s only returning forwards. Of course, there are a also handful of Canadians from last year’s squad currently on NHL rosters who could add some major firepower to the roster.

Nolan Patrick, 2017’s second-overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers, certainly won’t be back at the tournament this winter. Pierre-Luc Dubois, the third overall pick from the 2016 draft, has had a strong rookie season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. While general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has advocated for the use the tournament has in a player’s development, it seems unlikely the Jackets will let Dubois go for a few weeks in the middle of a contending season. Victor Mete is enjoying a breakout season with the Montreal Canadiens and, like with Dubois, it seems unlikely the team will let him go. 

The Colorado Avalanche have both Tyson Jost and Samuel Girard as possibilities for Canada’s roster. Jost turned pro this season from the NCAA and has only played nine games this year for Colorado due largely to a couple of knee injuries. Girard, a defenceman drafted by the Nashville Predators involved in the blockbuster Matt Duchene trade, has played in 11 games with the Avalanche. Given that Colorado isn’t on any kind of playoff push this season, it seems sensible to send both players to the tournament.


Samuel Girard. Photo: Getty Images/Matthew Stockman

The list is rounded out by Michael McLeod and Gabe Vilardi. McLeod had off-season surgery on his knee and has only played eight games with the Mississauga Steelheads. Vilardi has yet to play this season as he underwent surgery to fix multiple ailments he played through at last year’s Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires. McLeod is a strong bet to be on the team, while Vilardi will almost certainly be forced to sit out. 

Canada also has a strong crop of players who weren’t on last year’s team to choose from. 2017 top NHL draft picks like Cale Makar, Owen Tippett, Michael Rasmussen, Nick Suzuki, and Cal Foote seem poised to crack the roster for the first time, giving Canada a strong blend of talent. 

We won’t know yet who will ultimately make Canada’s roster for a couple of weeks, but there’s definitely the framework for a competitive team that should again challenge for a gold medal. As we’ve seen the past few years, Canada is no longer a surefire bet to take home gold at this tournament. Still, what we also know from the past few years of mediocrity, anything short of a gold for the Canadians will be viewed as a failure.   

Cam Lewis – @cooom



23 February, 2018

Is Filip Zadina the best forward in the 2018 NHL Draft?

You couldn?t help but notice him out there. Shift after shift, game after game. Wearing number 18 for the Czech Republic, there was never a moment where 18-year...

21 February, 2018

A beginner’s guide to prospect development in the United States

In what is now to be considered an article series, this second edition of ?Beginner?s guide? takes us to the United States where we take a look at how domestic ...

19 February, 2018

Maple Leafs’ Russian prospect looks ready for North America

When he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second day of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Yegor Korshkov wasn?t keen on moving overseas yet: ?I wouldn?t...

15 February, 2018

Will the star-studded, new-look Frontenacs be a playoff threat?

It doesn?t take much to realize that the Kingston Frontenacs are going for it all this season.  Currently sitting fifth in the OHL in points, the team?s trade d...

15 February, 2018

Heiskanen carries burden of expectation going into Olympics, NHL career

Few prospects carry the same aura of expectation as young blueliner Miro Heiskanen. While the Dallas Stars? 3rd overall pick in the 2017 draft likely holds hims...

13 February, 2018

Erik Karlsson’s homage to Rasmus Dahlin: “He’s much better than I was at that age”

As Rasmus Dahlin prepared himself for the next big adventure in his young career, the player he has idolized and patterned some of his game after while growing ...

12 February, 2018

Has the grind gotten to Eeli Tolvanen ahead of the Olympics?

Months ago, ahead of the 2018 WJC, we published a story on who we believed would win the scoring trophy at said tournament. The candidates chosen for the piece ...

10 February, 2018

Why Vancouver Canucks fans will love Jonathan Dahén

 It was unquestionably a strange sight. As crowds were pouring out of NHK Arena, satisfied with hometown team Timrå IK’s convincing 2-0 victory over hated...

09 February, 2018

What’s going on with Dylan Strome?

In a normal draft year, Dylan Strome would have been selected first overall. But 2015 was far from a normal draft year. A generational talent named Connor McDav...

07 February, 2018

Kapanen eager to establish himself in Toronto

Kasperi Kapanen got himself open at center ice, smoothly picked up the breakout pass from Auston Matthews and quickly blazed up the left wing. With every stride...

04 February, 2018

Europe vs. North America – who’ll have the first goaltender in the 2018 draft?

Rarely do you see a goaltender get selected in the first round of the NHL draft. Well, rarely is a somewhat strong word for it, but in the context of comparing ...

03 February, 2018

The steal of the 2017 draft – Eeli Tolvanen looks NHL ready

In European hockey, a huge debate is always tied to the question whether the most promising players should move overseas or keep on developing at home. While th...

02 February, 2018

Kailer Yamamoto has hit his stride in the WHL 

Kailer Yamamoto took a wicked slash from Oskar Steen in the dying seconds of the United States? semifinal loss to Sweden at the World Juniors in Buffalo. It loo...

01 February, 2018

Not an afterthought anymore – Swedish sniper looks to give Sabres value

When he was drafted 181st overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2014 NHL draft, Victor Olofson was an afterthought. That’s no slight on him personally, it&...

31 January, 2018

Mathias Emilio Pettersen – Scouted for over a decade

Few hockey players can say they were a YouTube-celebrity at age six. For Norwegian center prospect Mathias Emilio Pettersen though, it?s exactly what happened. ...

30 January, 2018

Canada’s golden hero is having a season for the ages

One could argue the success of Jordan Kyrou began when he was drafted 35th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 NHL draft. Perhaps when he made the 2015-1...

30 January, 2018

Ranking: They lead the way at mid-season Calder Trophy race

The 2017 NHL draft didn?t boast a true superstar talent like the 2016 and 2015 drafts did. That?s nothing against Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick, both of whom ...

29 January, 2018

Seven prospects to keep track of during the Olympics

We get it, you pretty much know all about Rasmus Dahlin, Miro Heiskanen and Eeli Tolvanen by now. Hence, we will not bore you with another edition of “loo...

27 January, 2018

What’s the best fit for Rasmus Dahlin?

Yes, he is an amazing talent. Yes, he will be picked first overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Yes, he will be in the NHL this coming fall. Now that we?ve gott...

26 January, 2018

Who is going to stop Russia’s All-Star studs at the Olympics?

The National Hockey League isn?t participating at the Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, but that doesn?t mean there won?t be NHL-calibre talent at the tournam...

25 January, 2018

Dominik Bokk – a German that shunned the Draisaitl route

He’s a German prospect that is getting his hockey education in Sweden. But it wasn’t until last summer that draft eligible forward Dominik Bokk, eig...

25 January, 2018

Logan Stanley – An old school player in the modern era

Ahead of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the reborn Winnipeg Jets franchise had been back on Canadian soil for five seasons. The Paul Maurice-era had started off as p...

08 January, 2018

The WJC summed up in seven thoughts

Rasmus Dahlin lived up to the hype: Since last June?s NHL draft, Rasmus Dahlin has been the face of 2018. For non-playoff teams in the NHL this season, Dahlin i...

08 January, 2018

The future of Avalanche blueline resides in Canada

Cale Makar. Conor Timmins. Samuel Girard. If you are a hockey fan, chances are you?ve heard one or more of these names mentioned at least once. Perhaps ahead of...

06 January, 2018

Gold medal recap: Canada wins gold at WJC in Buffalo

USA 9, Czech Republic 3 Though Czech Republic was looking to win their first medal since the 2005 tournament, the host Americans were ultimately too much to ask...

05 January, 2018WJC Semifinals Recap – Sweden, Canada advance to gold medal game
03 January, 2018WJC Quarterfinals Recap: The Czechs upset Finland – Canada cruises to semifinals
02 January, 2018WJC 2018 Quarterfinal Preview – here are the match-ups
01 January, 2018Casey Mittelstadt clear MVP through group stage; 2018 draft-eligibles shine
01 January, 2018Recap of Day 6: Sweden tops Group B, USA pulls out late win against Finland
31 December, 2017Kurashev leading second wave of talented Swiss prospects
31 December, 2017Recap of Day 5: Canada tops out in Group A – Sweden takes third straight win
29 December, 2017The call him “The Hunter” – meet the Caps’ rising prospect
29 December, 2017Recap of Day 3: Slovakia upsets United States, Finland dominates Denmark 
28 December, 2017Recap of Day 2 – Canada pushes past Slovakia to remain perfect
27 December, 2017Will Czech Republic’s Necas and Chytil continue to produce their magic?
27 December, 2017Recap of Day 1 – Czechs confirm dark horse status with win over Russia
26 December, 2017Russia looks to extend WJC streak with largely unknown squad 
26 December, 2017Rasmus Dahlin highlights Swedish squad looking to end medal drought 
26 December, 2017Talented Finnish team eager to make amends after last year’s fiasco
26 December, 2017Who belongs where? – The WJC players and the NHL teams they are drafted by
25 December, 2017Too good for the World Juniors – here are the players you’ll miss in Buffalo
25 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Zibanejad ends Sweden’s gold drought in OT
24 December, 2017United States send roster loaded with offensive talent to Buffalo
24 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Chubarov nets twice in 1999 final
23 December, 2017WJC Countdown: David Aebischer leads Switzerland to first-ever World Juniors medal 
23 December, 2017The curious case of Sean Day
22 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Peter Forsberg sets tournament record with whopping 31 points 
22 December, 2017Revolutionizing the game of hockey: who will be next?
21 December, 2017WJC Countdown: The NHL lockout allowed Canada to ice a historically-good team in 2005
21 December, 2017Back in the spotlight
21 December, 2017Russia’s Svechnikov fighting for roster spot, high draft position
20 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Kapanen’s heroics etch his name in Finnish history
20 December, 2017Predicting the top scorer for the 2018 World Junior Championships
19 December, 2017European free agents providing value for NHL clubs
19 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Kazakhstan upsets Canada in front of tiny crowd
18 December, 2017WJC Countdown: United States wins first-ever gold medal after bizarre own-goal
18 December, 2017The five WJC defenders most likely to be on an NHL roster this fall
17 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Russia snaps gold medal drought in 2011 with three ridiculous comebacks
17 December, 2017Canada leaves skill at home in favour of balanced team
17 December, 2017CHL talent has history of producing gems on American roster
16 December, 2017The matter of talent development in Sweden
16 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Tavares’ MVP showing and Eberle’s clutch goal lead Canada to fifth-straight gold
15 December, 2017Makar looking to join rare group of Canadian NCAA stars
15 December, 2017A beginner’s guide to the CHL
14 December, 2017Cool as a cucumber – Rasmus Dahlin ready to embrace the pressure of the WJC
14 December, 2017Is Canada leaving too much skill at home?
14 December, 2017Is Flyers’ prospect Hart a lock for the Canadian starter’s job?
14 December, 2017Edmonton Oilers give Kailer Yamamoto the chance to shine at the WJC
13 December, 2017The Olympic Kids – prospects that starred on the big stage
13 December, 2017Can any of the WJC underdogs break through in Buffalo?  
12 December, 2017A Russian trend – three forwards headed for the first round?
12 December, 2017Deep Russian squad looks to extend medal streak 
11 December, 2017The 2018 WJC underdog that could win it all
11 December, 2017The World Junior Championships – an audition for the Olympics
10 December, 2017Sweden’s elite talent looks to end cycle of WJC mediocrity
10 December, 2017Lukas Vejdemo – taking the patient route to the NHL
09 December, 2017Nicklas Lidström on Rasmus Dahlin: “He looks like Brian Leetch”
09 December, 2017Where are they now? – Three forgotten WJC stars
08 December, 2017Breaking down Team Canada’s roster snubs
08 December, 2017Finland on the rebound after disastrous showing at last year’s WJC 
07 December, 2017Away from the spotlight
07 December, 2017Why Adam Boqvist wasn’t picked for the Swedish WJC camp
07 December, 2017Sabres faithful may get chance to see Mittelstadt shine
06 December, 2017Aleksi Heponiemi – Poised for success
06 December, 2017The hunt for the next Erik Karlsson
06 December, 2017Americans look to finally come through on home ice 
05 December, 2017Redefining the modern defenseman
05 December, 2017What the Swedish WJC team should look like