2023 World Junior Championship: Team Slovakia Final Roster

Team Slovakia’s final 25-man roster was finally submitted and it’s considerably more impressive than the one that lined up just four months ago for the 2022 World Junior Championship (WJC). While they are without the services of 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky, they get a major bump in star power with second-overall pick Simon Nemec and 26th-overall pick Filip Mesar, who have both been made available by their NHL parent clubs.

The Slovaks will be hungry for a better result after a disappointing outcome in August saw them end up second last with only a single shootout win over Team Latvia. They will be part of a tough Group B playing in Moncton, New Brunswick headlined by Team Finland and Team USA, who they will be trying to upset on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 respectively. It is likely their hopes for competing for a medal will come down to their games against Team Latvia on Dec. 30, and Team Switzerland on Dec. 31.


Patrik Andrisik, Adam Gajan, Matej Marinov

Team Slovakia’s goaltending will basically be all new compared to their previous tournament, as the only returning goalie Patrik Andrisik did not dress in any of the games. Unfortunately for the 19-year-old, it appears as though he may be forced into that same role as Matej Marinov enters as the favoured starter with the younger Adam Gajan close behind.

Related: 2023 Guide to the World Junior Championship 

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Marinov is off to a solid start with the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League (USHL), posting a 1.87 goals- against average (GAA) and a .928 save percentage (SV%) in 12 starts without a single regulation loss. The 19-year-old checks in at 6-foot and a lean 157 pounds, much smaller than the year younger Adam Gajan who is already 6-foot-4 and 176 pounds. Gajan has played 16 games with the Chippewa Steel of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) where he posted a .920 SV% before transferring to the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL earlier this month where in two games he has been stellar with a 1.00 GAA and a .961 SV%.


Simon Becar, Pavol Funtek, Simon Groch, David Natny, Simon Nemec, Maxim Strbak

While Team Slovakia’s 2022 WJC captain Rayen Petrovicky has aged out of the tournament, he has been replaced by one of the highest touted defensive prospects in the world, Simon Nemec. The New Jersey Devils prospect is going to be relied upon heavily to carry the defence and will likely be playing in all situations. He has 11 points in 24 games this season with the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League (AHL) and has accumulated an impressive resume of international competition for only being 18 years old.

Simon Nemec New Jersey Devils
Simon Nemec, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

A trio of returning players will help shore up the rest of the back end in David Natny, Simon Grock, and Maxim Strbak. The 6-foot-2 Strbak will be looking to impress as a highly regarded right defenseman for the upcoming 2023 Draft, potentially going as early as the first round. He will likely be on the second pairing as both he and Nemec are right-handed, although it could be interesting to see if they pair the duo up at some point in the tournament.


Robert Baco, Alex Ciernik, Frantisek Dej, Dalibor Dvorsky, Samuel Honzek, Filip Mesar, Libor Nemec, Servac Petrovsky, Peter Repcik, Marcel Stefancik, Adam Sykora, Adam Zlnka

There will be no lack of potential offensive firepower from the Slovaks at this tournament, led first and foremost by the Montreal Canadiens’ 26th overall pick Filip Mesar. With 22 points in 17 games on the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), he is a force determined to join his countryman Slafkovsky on the Canadiens roster sooner than later. His transition game is going to be vital in generating offense and going toe-to-toe with the best wingers in the tournament.

Filip Mesar Montreal Canadiens
Filip Mesar, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There is a good possibility that playing the role of the first-line center will be the Minnesota Wild’s sixth-rounder Servac Petrovsky. Despite being a small 5-foot-9, he had an excellent 2022 tournament with three points and is also doing solid work in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack, where he has 28 points in 27 games (14 goals and 14 assists). His shooting ability is among the best on Team Slovakia and will make a fantastic complement to Mesar.

Adam Sykora and Adam Zlnka will make up the remainder of the drafted prospects on the team, as Sykora was selected in the second round by the New York Rangers, while Zlnka was taken in the seventh round by the Arizona Coyotes. Sykora is having a solid year with HK Nitra in Slovakia and will likely be a key defensive forward for his team. Zlnka has 11 points in 23 games with Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL and has put up some major numbers at previous international competitions.

When it comes to potential draft picks looking to make a name for themselves ahead of the 2023 Entry Draft, look no further than the trio of Dalibor Dvorsky, Samuel Honzek, and Alex Ciernik. Dvorsky is likely to go in the top ten if he can show an improvement over his 2022 WJC performance, while Honzek and Ciernik are both potential first-rounders offering different skill sets. Honzek is a 6-foot-3 center lighting up the Western Hockey League (WHL) with 43 points in 31 games, while Ciernik is a little smaller at 5-foot-10 but can be a lethal playmaker. They will all be vital in Team Slovakia’s hopes of any medal contention.

Team Slovakia Underdog Possibility

There is little doubt that Team Finland and Team USA will be at the top of Group B, but there is every chance that Team Slovakia could end up in third place behind them, leading to a possible quarter-final match against Team Canada or Team Sweden. It will be a tough tournament but if the Slovaks get the right players rolling, they have the ability to quietly be an underdog looking for a massive upset.