Team Canada Players to Watch at the 2022 World Juniors

Last year, Team Canada was comprised of 19 first-round NHL draft picks which included Bowen Byram, Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens, Quinton Byfield, Jamie Drysdale, and Dawson Mercer, to name a few. This year, Team Canada is once again loaded with top-end talent, which includes returnees Cole Perfetti, Kaiden Guhle, and Dylan Garand. While Canada is missing a handful of players from last year’s squad, this is a deep roster filled with exceptional talent.


The Canadians are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the United States last year that saw Trevor Zegras and the Americans capture gold. Canada is the favourites once again heading into the tournament. With just under 10 days left till the opening day of the World Juniors, I am going to give you a rundown of five players you can keep an eye on come Boxing Day.

Owen Power

This list will be headlined by defenceman Owen Power, who was the Buffalo Sabres’ first-overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. He currently plays for the University of Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA and has accumulated 23 points in 18 games. This will be his first World Juniors tournament. Last year, the Wolverines opted not to send him over the border and into the World Junior bubble that was held in Edmonton, Alberta – in fear of losing Power to extended quarantine upon returning to the United States. Politics aside, the 6-foo-6 defender is going to be a crucial part of Canada’s blue line throughout the tournament.

Owen Power, Michigan Wolverines
Owen Power Michigan Wolverines (Photo credit to Michigan Photography)

He is no stranger to the international scene, he represented Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship this past summer and helped them capture a gold medal for the first time since 2016. While at the World Championships, he recorded three assists in 10 games, but the experience alone has been a big part of his continuous growth as a player. With Canada a big favourite to capture gold at the upcoming World Juniors, Power will surely be bringing in that championship presence and will be a key leader in the locker room.

Kent Johnson

Speaking of the Wolverines, 2021 Columbus Blue Jackets‘ first-round pick Kent Johnson will surely draw lots of attention. The Port Moody product, and fifth overall pick, is an elite offensive talent whose creativity is off the charts. Before playing in college, Johnson spent the 2019-20 season in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and registered an astonishing 101 points (41 goals, 60 assists) in 52 games with the Trail Smoke Eaters. He currently has 23 points in 17 games in the NCAA and is among one of the point leaders. This, much like Power, will be his first World Juniors experience and this will give him a chance to show off his incredible precision, quickness and high-end skills on what is considered the greatest stage for junior hockey.

Kent Johnson, Michigan Wolverines
Kent Johnson Michigan Wolverines (Jonathan Knight, Jonathan Knight Photography)

Even though this is Johnson’s first experience representing Canada on the international stage, he will surely take on a major role, and likely a leadership role too. His on-and-off-ice relationship with Power will be a big addition to the locker room and lineup, allowing the team to use their chemistry to their advantage. I think it is safe to say that he will be one of the tournament’s top point producers. He is primed and ready to help guide Canada to a gold medal.

Shane Wright

The projected number one overall pick at the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft will surely be watched like a hawk. The Burlington, Ontario product is currently dominating the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) where he has 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 22 games with the Kingston Frontenacs. The 17-year-old Wright was named Captain of the Frontenacs this past fall, a major accomplishment for his young career, now he looks to capture a Gold medal at the most prestigious tournament of them all. While Wright is considered to be the unanimous number one overall selection, he will be able to use this tournament to boost his stock even more and prove to scouts why he should be chosen number one next summer.

This is not Wright’s first walk around the block when it comes to international play. This past April, he captured Gold with Canada at the under-18 World Junior Championships (WJC) and recorded 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in five games, putting on an exceptional performance. A few of those players from the under-18 squad Mason McTavish, Dylan Guenther, Connor Bedard, Logan Stankoven, and Olen Zellweger were also named to Canada’s World Juniors roster. This will allow Canada to explore lines even further by using the chemistry that has been created between these players.

Related: Team Finland Players to Watch at 2022 WJC

Wright will be a big component of the team and will surely see his fair share of ice-time, as he looks to capture yet another gold medal on the international stage.

Logan Stankoven

Kamloops Blazers co-captain and Dallas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven has been lighting the Western Hockey League (WHL) up this season. The Kamloops, B.C. product has 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 22 games and is currently top-10 in the league for points. Back in April, he was teammates with Shane Wright, where they won gold at the under-18 WJC and he posted eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games while donning the A on his jersey. He cracked a loaded team and proved to everyone why hard work and determination pay off, no matter your size. Standing at 5-foot-7, he has overcome a lot of adversity, he was snubbed as a first-round selection due to his size and has since gone on to prove scouts and teams wrong. He will surely use this tournament as another way to flourish his high-octane play style.

With Stankoven’s added international experience complementing the lineup, he will surely take on a significant role. He is a fearless puck carrier who boasts a lethal shot if given the chance to shoot. He could easily be one of the goal leaders across the WHL at the end of the season. Not only is he offensive, but his defensive playstyle allows for him to relentlessly attack you and hound you for the puck. Overall, he is going to be a player that can be used in all situations come tournament time.

Connor Bedard

Lastly, a player who every hockey fan around the world will be watching is the 2023 top-prospect, Connor Bedard. The 16-year-old phenom blew everyone away at the under-18 WJC back in April, having a lights-out performance recording 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in seven games. Not only did he have a solid performance on the international stage, but he also registered 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 15 games as a 15-year-old rookie playing for the Regina Pats of the WHL. He won the Rookie of the Year award. He has quickly made a name for himself and has been considered by many in the industry to be the next big NHL superstar.

Connor Bedard, Regina Pats
Connor Bedard, Regina Pats (Photo Credit: Keith Hershmiller)

Bedard was arguably one of the best players throughout selection camp, despite his accomplishments already, it’s no surprise to see him on the roster. He becomes just the seventh player in Canada’s history to compete as a 16-year-old, he joins an elite list that includes Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby, and Connor McDavid. He is truly a special player, and he will have a fantastic battle at the tournament against Russia’s Matvei Michkov, and Slovakia’s Dalibor Dvorsky – both of whom are also top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft. Expect Bedard to once again be lights out when given the ice time.

With multiple storylines heading into the World Juniors this year, Bedard vs Michkov will surely attract a lot of attention and chatter. This will be Bedard’s chance to cement his name in history even further and capture a gold medal.

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