When preliminary rosters were announced the Anaheim Ducks had four prospects with the chance to make their respective nations’ final rosters for the World Junior Championship. Now that cuts have been made and rosters are complete, only Trevor Zegras (USA) and Lukas Dostal (Czech) will represent the Ducks at the tournament.
Zegras Primed for Big Role With USA
In the United States’ first pre-tournament game against Sweden, Zegras featured on the left side of the top line. He played with Ottawa Senators prospect Shane Pinto and New York Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom. He was scratched for the final pre-tournament game against Germany and Nick Robertson took his spot on the top unit.
The U.S. have some roster flexibility with Alex Turcotte, John Beecher, and Zegras being able to play either on the wing or in the middle of the ice. It’s likely at some point during the tournament we see Zegras line up at center, even if he starts the tournament on left wing.
His team is considered one of the favorites to win it all, so there is a good chance at leading the entire tournament in scoring if they make it to the final. His high-end creativity and play-making ability will turn some heads, and a partnership with noted sniper Wahlstrom should provide some quality entertainment.
The U.S. find themselves in a surprisingly tough group with perennial favorites Canada and Russia. Germany has the potential to provide a couple upsets with Tim Stützle and Dominik Bokk on the roster. The host Czech Republic have one of the best goaltenders in the tournament in Lukas Dostal, and that coupled with home-ice advantage might make them a difficult team to beat.
Dec. 26 vs. Canada
Dec. 27 vs. Germany
Dec. 29 vs. Russia
Dec. 30 vs. Czech Republic
Janicke Among Final Cuts From Team USA
There is one every year. That unlucky number 14, the final forward cut from the roster before the team finalizes their 13 forwards to bring to the tournament. Trevor Janicke was that unlucky number 14. It’s never easy making it this far and then being cut. It makes it even harder when you’re the final forward cut from the team.
He’ll now rejoin Notre Dame and look forward to continuing what has been an impressive freshman season to date. They return to action on Jan. 3 against Western Michigan.
Groulx a Surprising Cut for Canada
If it hurt to have one prospect just miss out on the tournament, you may want to skip this part. Benoit-Olivier Groulx was the final cut for Canada, yes… that unlucky number 14.
Trevor Janicke’s release wasn’t as surprising as him making it that far in the first place. However, it felt like Groulx had the inside track to making the team and potentially playing with Halifax teammate Raphaël Lavoie. It wasn’t that Groulx played himself off the team, but that others played their way onto it. Aidan Dudas plays a similar role to Groulx and had an impressive pre-tournament. Dawson Mercer’s offensive production turned out to be too enticing to pass up on.
Instead of rejoining Halifax, he’ll report to the Moncton Wildcats after being traded the day after being cut.
Dostal Key to Host’s Chances
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this level of goaltending prospects at the World Junior Championship. Spencer Knight, 13th-overall pick by the Florida Panthers, will backstop the U.S. and is the favorite to win goaltender of the tournament. Yaroslav Askarov is a potential top-five pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft and will be the man between the pipes for Russia. However, it’s Lukas Dostal who might have the edge on both of them.
Dostal is the clear starter for the host Czech Republic, and one of the only goaltenders with previous World Junior experience. He played four games in last year’s tournament, finishing with a 1.25 goals against average and a .957 save percentage. He also looks ready to go, sporting a Czech themed mask for the tournament.
He’s been playing extremely well against older players all season with Ilves in Liiga. So, a step down to play against his peers might bode well for his chances at the tournament.
Dec. 26 vs. Russia
Dec. 28 vs. Germany
Dec. 30 vs. USA
Dec. 31 vs. Canada
If you missed our last prospect update, check it out here! Stay tuned for a fresh update on Ducks prospects from major junior, NCAA, Europe and around the world!
In the meantime, if you want to hear my thoughts on Ducks prospects and the current affairs of the team. Check out The Forever Mighty Podcast for all the latest Anaheim Ducks talk and analysis.
All the 2020 World Junior Championship Team Information:
*Links to come throughout December
Czech Republic — Team Preview — Roster
Germany — Team Preview — Roster
Kazakhstan — Team Preview — Roster
Russia — Team Preview — Roster
Slovakia — Team Preview — Roster
USA — Team Preview — Roster
Roster Breakdowns by NHL Team