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2k22 IIHF World Junior Championships RE-PREVIEW

The Boy Tournament has resumed!

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Junior Gold Medalists Return Home Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

NOTE: A good portion of this is recycled from a previous article from earlier this year. Please understand that doing primers takes a lot of work and frankly not a whole bunch of sides changed much.

Just the Facts:

What is it?: TSN’S TEENAGER TOURNAMENT EXTRAVAGANZA!!! Only this time in August because COVID.

Where is it?: Thanks to COVID, the World Juniors have been stranded in Edmonton for two years in a row. For just pennies a day, you can help free the World Juniors from the prison known as “Alberta, Canada”

Who’s the defending champs?: The USA, baby, fresh off of Trevor Zegras putting the entire hockey world on notice...and then immediately going and becoming an Anaheim Duck.

Places to Watch: TSN in Canada, NHL Network in the USA, TSN-GO usually has the online stream

The Groups

Group A - Edmonton:

  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Slovakia
  • Czechia
  • Latvia

Group B - Also Edmonton:

  • USA
  • Austria
  • Sweden
  • Germany
  • Switzerland

Group Patch Notes:

  • Slovakia and Germany have switched groups
  • Russia has been banned from the tournament due to the Ukraine invasion
  • Latvia is now here

Bruins Prospects at the WJC:

  • 2021 first rounder Fabian Lysell will be playing for Team Sweden, thankfully taking only a very minor trip from the Vancouver area rather than Sweden to Edmonton.
  • 2020 6th rounder and Providence College enthusiast Riley Duran will suit up for the United States.
  • 2022 4th rounder Dans Locmelis suits up for Latvia!

Lightning Quick Group Previews:

Group A:

  • This group is, to the shock of nobody, split between Canada and Finland. Leijonat is trading on hard experience of their gaggle of 19 year olds that have only gotten better with time and many of whom have reported for U20 games like clockwork. Their only real issues traditionally have been self-inflicted, and the last couple of years it’s been their inability to stay out of the box. If they can reign in their play, they can make a good shot at possibly shocking Canada.
  • Which would be great, because Hockey Canada is in desperate need of a good and thorough shocking, preferably until they lose motor control. I really don’t care if they do well or not nor do I care who they brought; frankly I think they should just willingly concede every game or the sponsors should purposefully withdraw equipment so that every stick is as valuable as gold.
  • The Czechs, now officially going by Czechia as per request of their federation, will probably have a slightly higher finish than in years’ past where defensive malaise has caught up with them; Jan Mysak has guys like Michal Gut and Ivan Ivan (MVP caliber name there) to help keep the punch up front, and Stanislav Svozil now has 6’3 David Jiricek backing him up. While they’re still...shallow in some areas, the issue is that they really need their goaltending to make some strides after the bad tourney last year. It will be very hard for them to try and medal, but I think they could make a good show of it this year. JAKOLEV!
  • Slovakia is bringing in a lot of guys on different flights, but they will inevitably find a way to beat the US in the one shocker game of the tournament. This is their favorite thing to do. This team, as with any that’s still coming back from a rebuilt development system, is reaching deep to get the best they can; Filip Mesar and 17 year old Dali Dvorsky are names that could see themselves called for the NHL Draft in the very near future, and they also brought back their heroic goaltender in Simon Latcozky, who in spite of his losing record for his nation, had a .922 SV%. They are unlikely to medal, but they seem tailor made to cause trouble for an unsuspecting team. Keep an eye on these guys.

Group B

  • The USA lost a lot of guys that made their 2021 campaign so successful, and even more now that many of their better players are warming up for NHL training camp, but is that really so bad when you have tons of interesting talent behind them? Matt Knies, Mackie Samoskevich, Jack Peart, Drew Commesso, Sasha Pastujov...this team is loaded with some really intriguing high-end skill and also names you’d swear I randomly generated. Further, the change to the group made the low end of the tourney much easier for them, so I’d imagine they’ll have a spirited campaign.
  • Sweden! You brought a whole Bruin with you! And the one a lot of people have high hopes for as well! Tack så hjärtligt! Anyway, with Fabian Lysell, you are now Tre Kronor’s biggest fan. Sweden’s thing is being systematically superior at defense and in net without compromising on team depth, and for the most part that didn’t change this year, what did is the expectations; not getting out of the Group Stage last year probably stuck in their craw, so even in a high-skill group, I would expect the big guns to be in for a rough game when Sweden shows up.
  • Germany meanwhile will be having to deal with the fact that their best offensive talent is...currently in the NHL and long aged out of playing for U20 teams. Florian Elias and Florian Bugl last year were instrumental in helping get Die Eismannschaft into games, and without guys like Peterka and Stutzle, they’ll be the beating heart of their offense. In a group where you really can’t fall behind. Good luck, Deutschland. You’re gonna need it.
  • Poor Switzerland. I love that their entire thing is just fundamentally sound hockey with not a whole lot of strengths, but few weaknesses. Unfortunately, they drew the last division in the world where you want to be just “okay”. They’re probably going to be sent to the not-Relegation game this year, but that’s more of a result of drawing a painful group rather than anything they’re doing wrong.
  • Austria is also appearing in this film as “Dead Body”. They don’t have any NHL-ready prospects to rely on right now, instead sending some of the more younger talent they’ve ever had to gain extremely valuable experience. Experience in how to remain graceful in a loss, sure. But valuable nonetheless!

2022 World Junior Championships Schedule:

Preliminaries begin tonight at 2pm as Czechia and Slovakia kick us off, and will continue until August 15th. The Medal Round begins on the 17th, with the gold medal game scheduled for August 20th.

Minor Programming update:

I will be recapping the week of games rather than each one individually. Think of it as like the World Championships’ power ranking but marginally less funny.

Good luck, and STAY HEALTHY to all the teams participating in this year’s World Juniors!