4 Oilers Who Could Play at World Juniors

Just six weeks remain until the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship gets underway on Dec. 26 in Edmonton and Red Deer, leaving a limited amount of time for players to show why they deserve a spot on their nation’s World Juniors roster.

Competing in what is arguably the top annual event on the international ice hockey calendar is always a rare opportunity, but especially so now for Edmonton Oilers prospects, who would get to represent their nation at the rink they aspire to call home before the fans they hope will one day chant their name.

The Oilers prospect pool includes nine players representing five different nations, that are eligible to compete in World Juniors 2022, and a few of them have a legit shot at playing on junior hockey’s biggest stage at Rogers Place this coming holiday season.

Luca Munzenberger, Team Germany

Having represented his country at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, the 18-year-old blueliner is ostensibly a lock to make the cut again.

At World Juniors 2021, Munzenberger helped Team Germany finish third in Pool A to qualify for the quarterfinals, where they were defeated 2-1 by Russia. In five games, Munzenberger recorded zero points and four penalty minutes, while registering a minus-four rating.

Related Link: Oilers’ Luca Munzenberger: There’s a Lot to Like About This Draft Pick

Munzenberger, who Edmonton selected 90th overall in the third round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, is now in his freshman season at the University of Vermont. Thus far he has two assists and 10 penalty minutes with a minus-five rating in eight games for the Catamounts.

Xavier Bourgault, Team Canada

After impressing at Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team summer development camp in July and August, Bourgault has only strengthened his case for a roster spot with a spectacular start to the 2021-22 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) season.

Xavier Bourgault Shawinigan Cataractes
Xavier Bourgault of the Shawinigan Cataractes (Jean Levasseur)

The Shawinigan Cataractes forward is tied for the QMJHL lead in both goals (15) and points (30), in 16 games. The 19-year-old also had a league-best eight power-play goals, and was tied for first with four game-winning goals.

Edmonton picked Bourgault 22nd overall in Round 1 of the NHL Draft on July 23. Five days later Bourgault was at the summer development camp, where he found chemistry on a line with fellow QMJHL standout Zach Bolduc, another top contender to make Team Canada.

Matvey Petrov, Team Russia

Just a couple months ago, Petrov was a longshot to play at World Juniors, but his explosive Ontario Hockey League (OHL) debut with the North Bay Battalion has surely put the winger into serious contention for Team Russia.

The 18-year-old has played 16 games, racking up 12 goals (third in the OHL), 21 points (10th in the OHL) and 62 shots (fifth in the OHL). Petrov, who fell into the Oilers’ lap at No. 180 in the 2021 Draft, had two hat tricks in his first 10 games.

So impressive has Petrov played that Edmonton signed him to a three-year entry-level contract on Nov. 10, making Petrov the first member of the Oilers 2021 draft class with an ELC. If Russia feels as strong as the Oilers do, Petrov will be on the Rogers Place ice this December.

Ty Tullio, Team Canada

The Oshawa Generals center, who was drafted at No. 126 by Edmonton in 2020, also took part in Hockey Canada’s summer development camp, so he’s certainly on Team Canada’s radar.

After notching 42 goals and 66 assists over 122 games in his first two seasons with the Generals, Tullio has been less scorer, more playmaker in 2021-22. He leads the OHL with 19 assists, and also has five goals, giving the 19-year-old 24 points in 15 games, to sit in a tie for third in the league.

Tullio’s numbers speak for themselves. However, given Canada’s forward depth he seems unlikely to make the final roster.

Regardless, Oilers fans could have a lot to keep their eye on when World Juniors 2022 begins on Boxing Day, with Canada playing the Czech Republic and Germany playing Finland in Edmonton, while Russia takes on Sweden in Red Deer.

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