There is no doubt that Tim Stuetzle has cemented his reputation as a future franchise player for the Ottawa Senators at the 2021 World Junior Championships (WJC). Despite the fact that his German team is far from a favourite to win – a 16-2 thrashing at the hands of Team Canada erased any illusions of a gold medal – Stuetzle has been one of the best and most talked about players at the tournament. Through the four-game round robin portion of the tournament, Stuetzle had scored five goals and added five assists for 10 points.
But is he the Ottawa Senators best all-time performer at the WJC? He may be one of the best, but he is still far from the best. As we count down our top 25 all-time WJC performers among current and past Ottawa Senators, there will be some expected names of superstars, but there will also be some surprises.
With well over 50 former and future Ottawa Senators having played in the WJC, putting together our top 25 list was not easy. In fact, many of our choices may be open for debate. We don’t expect everyone to agree with the list, but that’s why we do these things. It sparks hockey talk that goes refreshingly beyond discussion of no fans, bubbles, viruses and coaches wearing masks on the bench.
While we went 25 players deep, we also had to list some honorable mention. Our first is goalie Jeff Glass. He led Canada to its first gold medal in eight years at the 2005 WJC, going 5-0 with a 1.40 Goals Against Average. Ottawa had drafted him earlier that year, and he would go on to be named the 2004-05 Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. The problem is that Glass never played for the Ottawa Senators. After four seasons in Binghamton and buried behind names like Dominik Hasek, Ray Emery, Brian Elliott and Martin Gerber, Glass headed to the KHL. He finally made his NHL debut in the 2017-18 season, playing 15 games for the Chicago Blackhawks.
In 2009 in Ottawa, Tyler Ennis had seven points in six games and won a gold medal for Canada. One of his teammates was another former Senator, Chris DiDomenico, who also had seven points in six games. Dany Heatley won a pair of bronze medals over two tournaments for Team Canada. USA stars Bobby Ryan and Alex Galchenyuk were both point-per-game players or better in their WJC careers, and Russia’s Evgeny Dadonov played in two WJCs, scoring seven points in seven games in his second tournament and winning a pair of bronze medals.
And who could forget the performance of Pascal Leclaire at the 2002 WJC. He had four wins and a pair of shutouts in four games heading into the final. He looked like he was going to lead Canada to gold, but the U.S. mounted a memorable comeback in the final. Leclaire and Canada had to settle for silver.
Although you could make an argument for any of the above players, they did not make our list and will have to settle for honorable mention status.
25. Anthony Duclair
With four goals and four assists in seven games, Duclair finished 10th in scoring at the 2015 WJC. He was sixth on his team in scoring, as the Canadian roster included names like Connor McDavid, Sam Reinhart, Max Domi, Nic Petan and Curtis Lazar. Canada won its first gold medal in six years at the tournament.
Duclair, who had scored 50 goals for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL the previous year, began the 2014-15 season with the New York Rangers. He made the team after leading the Rangers in scoring during the pre-season. The Rangers allowed Duclair to play for Canada at the WJC, and assigned him to Quebec following the tournament. He was traded from the Rangers to the Arizona Coyotes while he was back in Quebec.
24. Brady Tkachuk
Tkachuk is a dual citizen but grew up in St. Louis and played for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He captained the gold medal-winning USA team at the IIHF World U18 Championships in Slovakia.
Tkachuk went to Boston University for the 2017-18 season and after a strong start to his freshman year was selected to play in the 2018 WJC in Buffalo. With the Senators’ scouts watching closely, he had three goals and six assists for nine points in seven games, helping the U.S. win a bronze medal. The Senators went on to select Tkachuk fourth overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and signed him before the 2018-19 season.
23. Mark Stone
Mark Stone wasn’t really on the radar when he was drafted 178th overall by the Senators in 2010. He was coming off a sophomore season with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings that saw him score 28 points in 39 games, missing a big chunk of the season with a concussion.
Stone blossomed the following season with 106 points in 71 games, and then in the 2011-12 season he had 123 points in 66 games.
It was in that season that he made Team Canada and played in the 2012 WJC in Edmonton and Calgary. Canada ripped through the round robin with a 4-0 record, scoring 26 goals and allowing five. In the semi-final, they fell behind 6-1 to the Russians but their comeback fell short, as they lost 6-5. Stone finished the tournament with seven goals and three assists for 10 points in six games.
At the end of his junior season, he was called up to Ottawa for the playoffs and drew an assist against the New York Rangers in his first game.
22. Tom Pyatt
If there was ever a Bob Gainey of the WJC for Canada, it was Tom Pyatt.
A native of Thunder Bay where he grew up playing hockey with Marc Staal, Pyatt had a strong hockey pedigree as both his father, Nelson, and older brother, Taylor, were NHL players. Tom was drafted 107th overall by the Rangers in 2005.
In 2006, Pyatt, who was playing for the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit, was a huge factor in Team Canada’s WJC gold medal. Although he scored only one goal, he was the shut down centre that neutralized stars like Evgeni Malkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Canada gave up only six goals in the tournament, and they had shutouts in both the semi-final and final.
At the 2007 WJC, Pyatt xeroxed his feat from the previous year. Canada allowed seven goals in six tournament games and won another gold medal. Pyatt had a goal and three assists, and his defensive play made life easier for Canadian goalie Carey Price.
During his professional career, he had played for coach Guy Boucher with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Tampa Bay Lightning. Boucher was impressed with Pyatt’s play in Switzerland, and the Senators signed him. Pyatt played in Sweden last year with Skelleftea AIK and SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers.
21. Brian Lee
He may be considered one of the biggest draft busts in Senators history, but Brian Lee was far from being a bust during his WJC career.
Lee played for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL in the 2004-05 season and earned the title of Mr. Hockey. He played for the U.S. in 2005 WJC, and his strong play impressed the Senators enough that they bypassed Marc Staal and high-scoring forward Anzy Kopitar to select him ninth overall.
For the next two seasons, Lee played for the University of North Dakota and played in two more WJC tournaments for the Americans, winning a bronze medal in 2007. No former or current Senator has played in more than the 21 WJC games Lee has played in.
The 33-year-old Lee has been out of professional hockey since the 2012-13 season.
20. Josh Norris
Norris was a teammate of his longtime buddy Brady Tkachuk on the U.S. team that won gold at the 2017 World U18 Championships. The San Jose Sharks drafted him in the first round.
In the 2017-18 season, Norris, who was traded to Ottawa in the Erik Karlsson deal, attended the University of Michigan and represented the U.S. in the next two WJC tournaments.
At the 2018 WJC, Norris had three assists and was named the U.S. team’s best player in their semi-final loss to Sweden.
The following year, Norris had six points in seven games as the U.S. won silver. Unfortunately, an injury at the WJC ended his season, and his career at Michigan. Before the tournament, he had 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 17 games with the Wolverines.
Last season, Norris was one of the AHL’s top rookies, scoring 61 points in 56 games and earning a three-game call-up to Ottawa.
19. Alexei Yashin
Yashin impressed the Senators enough at the 1992 WJC that they would select the Russian star with their first ever pick, second overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft.
Playing for the Commonwealth of Independent States team, Yashin had four goals and two assists for six points in seven games. The CIS team had a 6-1 record to win the tournament, finishing ahead of a powerful Swedish team that went 5-1-1. At that time, the tournament was only a round robin and there was no playoff or medal round.
The following year, Yashin missed the first half of the WJC as he was playing for Dynamo Moscow in the European club championship tournament. He travelled by train with Senators management to the WJC to play the final three games, scoring a goal.
18. Alexandre Daigle
The foreshadowing that would portray Alexandre Daigle as a hockey enigma was almost Shakespearean. He rode into the 1993 WJC on the coat tails of the hysteria surrounding Eric Lindros. Although a completely different player than Lindros, hockey fans had expectations of superstardom.
Daigle was almost ejected from the tournament after the first game and, although he finished the tournament with six assists, his performance was pedestrian. Still, it was enough for the Senators to select him first overall ahead of the other player they were watching, Viktor Kozlov, with the first pick in the 1993 draft.
After scoring 20 goals as a rookie with the Senators, Daigle was returned to Victoriaville of the QMJHL to start the 1994-95 season, as there was an NHL work stoppage. Daigle had 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points in 20 games before joined Team Canada for his second WJC appearance.
Daigle won his second WJC gold medal, scoring two goals and adding eight assists for 10 points in seven games. He finished his WJC career with an impressive 16 points in 14 games.
17. Mika Zibanejad
Some people would put Mika Zibanejad in the top five, depending how you weigh the golden moment against the complete body of work.
Zibanejad was drafted sixth overall by the Senators in the 2011 NHL Draft. After playing the first nine games of the 2011-12 season with Ottawa, Zibanejad was reassisgned to Djurgardens of the Swedish Elite League. He played for Sweden at the 2012 WJC.
In the final, Zibanejad scored the biggest goal in Sweden’s WJC history. His overtime goal gave Sweden a 1-0 win over Russia, and his country’s first gold medal in 31 years of participation in the event. He finished the tournament with four goals and an assist.
The same night, on Jan. 5, the Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Ottawa. Several players, particularly the large Swedish contingent on the team, stuck around to watch the rest of the gold medal game. The Sens’ dressing room erupted with cheers following Zibanejad’s goal.
16. Erik Karlsson
After the Senators selected Erik Karlsson 15th overall at the 2008 NHL Draft in Ottawa, veteran analyst and NHL insider Pierre McGuire was adamant when he kept saying, “You will not be disappointed with Erik Karlsson.”
Six months later, Sens fans got to see exactly what they were getting at the WJC in Ottawa.
Sweden allowed only three goals in the four-game round robin portion of the tournament. While most Canadian fans remember the dramatic 6-5 win over Russia, they often forget that was a semi-final game. Canada played Sweden in the final and cruised to a 5-1 win.
Karlsson finished the tournament with two goals and seven assists for nine points in six games. He was named to the tournament all-star team, and he was also named the tournament’s top defenceman.
15. Marian Hossa
The Ottawa Senators loved what they saw in Marian Hossa at the 1997 WJC and selected him 12th overall at the 1997 NHL Draft.
Hossa had five goals and two assists for Slovakia, who finished in sixth place. He finished the tournament tied for ninth in scoring.
The following season, Hossa took part in the 1998 WJC and scored four goals and had four assists for eight points in six games.
Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020, Hossa holds the unusual distinction of being drafted by an NHL team before being drafted by a junior team. After Ottawa selected Hossa, the Portland Winterhawks selected him fifth overall in the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. The thinking in Portland was that Hossa could play for them in case the Senators wanted to send him down to junior hockey.
The selection paid off. Hossa has 85 points in 53 games for Portland and was the WHL Rookie of the Year, helping the Winterhawks win both the WHL championship and the 1997-98 Memorial Cup.
14. Jason Spezza
At the 2000 WJC, Jason Spezza and Jay Bouwmeester joined Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros as the only 16-year-olds to play for Team Canada in the tournament.
Canada finished in third place, losing to Russia 3-2 in the semi-finals before beating the Americans 4-3 in the bronze medal game. Spezza had a pair of assists.
The following year, Spezza passed on an invitation to the Team Canada summer camp because he wanted to focus on his first NHL camp in Ottawa. He ended up being sent back down to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and would play at the 2001 WJC. At the tournament, he had three goals and three assists for six points in seven games and was named to the Media All-Star Team. Canada had to settle for third place again, losing to Finland 5-2 in the semi-finals before beating Sweden.
At the 2002 WJC, Spezza had four assists but the Canadians fell short again. Russia scored a come-from-behind win over Canada in the gold medal game.
Spezza finished his WJC career with 21 games played, tied for the most among former Senators at the tournament. He had three goals and nine assists for 12 career points. He is one of only two Senators to have won three WJC medals. (You will have to read on to find out who the other is.)
13. Thomas Chabot
A first round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators in 2015, Chabot played for Team Canada in the 2016 WJC and again in the 2017 WJC.
Chabot had three assists in five games at the 2016 WJC, in which Canada finished sixth.
At the 2017 WJC, Chabot was fourth in tournament scoring with four goals and six assists for 10 points in seven games. Canada would win silver, losing to the Americans 5-4 in the final. Chabot, however, was named the tournament MVP, best defenceman and was also named to the tournament all-star team.
12. Dominik Hasek
Dominik Hasek became the youngest Czech player to ever turn pro when he signed with his hometown team, HC Pardubice, at the age of 16.
After winning a silver medal at the European U18 championships in 1982, Hasek played for Czechoslovakia at the 1983 WJC and 1985 WJC. He won a silver medal in both tournaments.
At the 1983 WJC, Hasek was named the top goaltender in the tournament. He impressed scouts enough that the Chicago Blackhawks would select Hasek in the NHL Draft later that year. It was rare for players from communist countries to be drafted in that era, and Hasek did not find out he was drafted until several months later.
Hasek played in his second WJC in 1985, and went undefeated. Czechoslovakia won silver as they tied Canada with 5-0-2 records. Canada won the gold medal on a tiebreaker.
11. Wade Redden
Wade Redden was on Team Canada’s blue line for two WJC tournaments and won a pair of gold medals.
At the 1995 WJC, Redden had three goals and two assists. He was drafted second overall by the New York Islanders that year, but was traded to Ottawa six months later. The Senators were unable to sign first overall pick Bryan Berard, and Redden was sent to Ottawa in a multi-player trade, three-team deal with the Islanders and Leafs.
Redden won his second gold medal at the 1996 WJC as Canada beat Sweden 4-1 in the final. Redden had two assists and was strong defensively.
10. Kyle Turris
At the 2008 WJC, Kyle Turris led Team Canada in scoring with four goals and four assists for eight points.
Turris had a long history of success playing for Team Canada at younger levels. He had won gold medals at the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Torunament and the 2006 World Junior A Challenge.
Canada beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime to win gold. Turris finished fourth overall in tournament scoring.
9. Alex Kovalev
While Alexei Yashin was the player from the Commonwealth of Independent States who was drawing the attention from scouts in Ottawa, it was New York Rangers first round draft pick Alexei Kovalev who put the team on his back to win a gold medal.
Kovalev was fifth in tournament scoring with five goals and five assists for 10 points in seven games. The CIS won gold with a 6-1-0 record, and Kovalev was named to the tournament all-star team.
The Rangers were champions in 1994-95. Kovalev and teammates Alexander Karpovtsev, Sergei Nechenov and Sergei Zubov, became the first Russian players to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.
8. Chris Phillips
Statistics never tell the complete story of a game or a player’s performance. Proof in point is defenceman Chris Phillips.
At the 1996 WJC, Phillips was pointless but was one of the most valuable players on Canada’s gold medal team. Phillips played a shut down role as Canada breezed through the tournament undefeated, beating Sweden 4-1 for the gold medal. Phillips’ performance at the tournament helped his draft ranking, and the Senators selected him first overall at the 1996 NHL Draft.
In 1997, Phillips had an assist but again played a solid defensive game as he won his second WJC gold medal. Canada beat the U.S. 2-0 in the final, and Phillips was named to the tournament’s all-star team despite only having one point.
7. Vaclav Varada
This might be a stat that surprises you, but the former or current Senator with the most goals in WJC history is Vaclav Varada.
At the 1995 WJC, Varada was tied for fifth in scoring with six goals and four assists for 10 points in seven games.
The following year, the Czechs reached the semi-finals and finished in fourth place. In six games, Varada had five goals and an assist.
Varada finished his WJC career with 11 goals and 16 points in 13 games.
6. Curtis Lazar
Canada lost the bronze medal game 2-1 to the Russians at the 2014 WJC. It was the first taste of the tournament for Curtis Lazar, who had been selected by the Senators at the 2013 NHL Draft. Lazar had a strong tournament, scoring three goals and adding four assists for seven points in seven games.
Lazar made the Senators to start the 2014-15 season, and the team granted him permission to leave the team and play for Team Canada at the 2015 WJC. Lazar was named team captain and had five goals and for assists for nine points as Canada won gold. He was sixth in scoring for the tournament.
5. Dion Phaneuf
After being drafted in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft by Calgary, Dion Phaneuf would become one of the best defenceman in Team Canada WJC history.
At the 2004 WJC, Phaneuf’s steady play and punishing style of play helped Canada reach the final. Canada lost the gold medal game 4-3 to the U.S. Phaneuf was praised for his play and was named to the tournament all-star team with four points in six games.
Phaneuf was back for his second WJC in 2005, and this time he would come home with gold. Canada was literally untested in this tournament, with the exception of a 3-1 semi-final win over the Czechs in the semi-finals. Every other win was a blow out, including the 6-1 win over Alex Ovechkin and the Russians in the gold medal game.
With a goal and five assists for six points in six games, Phaneuf was named to his second straight WJC all-star team.
4. Tim Stuetzle
Sure, the Ottawa Senators, like every other team in the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, were hoping to win and earn the right to draft Alexis Lafreniere. But they finished third and drafted German star Tim Stuetzle. Senators GM Pierre Dorion made it very clear to the media that they were excited to land Stuetzle, and he was far from a consolation prize.
After recording five assists in five games at the 2020 WJC, Stuetzle put on a show at the 2021 WJC. Despite his team being eliminated by Russia in the quarterfinals, Stuetzle finished the tournament with five goals and five assists for 10 points in five games. With the exception of the German team’s 16-2 loss to Canada to open the tournament, Stuetzle was the most noticeable player on the ice in each game he played.
3. Derek Stepan
Derek Stepan had his coming out party at the 2010 WJC tournament.
The University of Wisconsin sophomore was named captain of Team USA, and he responded by playing the best hockey of his life.
Stepan led the tournament in scoring with four goals and 10 assists for 14 points. His team knocked off Team Canada 6-5 in overtime to win the gold medal. Stepan was named to the tournament all-star team.
The following year, he made the New York Rangers and scored a hat trick on Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in his first NHL game.
2. Colin White
The Senators selected Colin White in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. Earlier that year, he had scored the overtime game-winning goal in the final of the World U18 Championships to help the U.S. win the gold medal.
After being drafted, White went to Boston College to play for the Eagles for two seasons. He would play for the U.S. in two WJC tournaments.
White had a good tournament at the 2016 WJC in Finland, picking up seven points in seven games as the U.S. won a bronze medal.
But the following year in Canada, White put on a show that left Senators’ management and fans drooling.
In the third period of the gold medal game against Canada, While scored in the third period to force overtime and, eventually, a shoot out. It was White’s seventh goal of the tournament in his seventh game. Team USA would win the shootout and take a 5-4 win to earn the gold medal.
In two WJC tournaments, White had 10 goals and five assists for 15 points in 14 games to go with his bronze and gold medals.
1. Magnus Pajaarvi
He has three WJC medals and he has more career WJC points than any other Ottawa Senator past or present.
Magnus Pajaarvi made his WJC debut at the 2008 tournament in the Czech Republic. He became the first 16-year-old to ever play for Sweden in the tournament. He came with international experience, as he had already won a gold medal for Sweden at the World U18 championships.
In his first WJC tournament, Pajaarvi only had a goal and an assist in six games. His assist was a big one though, as he drew a helper on Mikael Backlund’s overtime winner in the semi-final against Russia. Sweden ended up with a silver medal after losing 3-2 to Canada in overtime in the final.
The 2009 WJC was held in Ottawa, and Pajaarvi had a strong showing with seven points in six games. In the final against Canada, Sweden lost 5-1 and had to settle for another silver medal, with Pajaarvi assisting the lone Swedish goal.
Pajaarvi was highly rated heading into the NHL Draft, and the Edmonton Oilers selected him 10th overall. He returned to Sweden for one more year and played in his third WJC in Saskatoon.
The U.S. beat Sweden in the semi-final, and Pajaarvi and his team would have to settle for bronze after beating Switzerland 11-4 in the game for third place. He had an assist in the game but two other future Senators would score for Sweden, as Jacob Silfverberg scored twice and David Rundblad had one.
Pajaarvi finished the tournament with three goals and seven assists for 10 points in six games. In his WJC career, he had 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points in 18 games to go with his three medals. His 13 assists and 19 points lead all Senators in WJC play, and he is one of only two players to win three medals.
You may or may not agree with our choices for the list. Maybe you think some players that were left off belong, or that some on here don’t. Maybe you think we have the order wrong.
But that’s why we do this. We’re fans, and we love to talk and debate about it.
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Jeff Morris has been a hockey writer for more than 30 years. He began his career working for small town newspapers in Eastern Ontario before becoming the editor of Canadian Sports Collector magazine in St. Catharines, ON. While there, he also freelanced as a Buffalo Sabres beat writer. Morris would move on to Dallas to become the NHL brand manager at Pinnacle Brands, Inc. From there, he worked in the sports trading card and collectibles division at Shop At Home TV in Nashville and Denver, and then moved to Seattle to be the VP of Marketing at Pacific Trading Cards, Inc. in Seattle. He had continued to cover the NHL as a freelance writer, and while in Seattle, he became a weekly hockey columnist for ESPN.com. During the 2005 NHL lockout, he returned to Ottawa and became a newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, and was also an NHL contributor for Fox Sports Radio. He also began covering the NHL for Hockeyology.com, and also covered the Ottawa Senators for his own publications. He went to Carleton University to study journalism, and graduated as the school’s all-time scoring leader in football and was a conference all-star three times. He had several pro tryouts and played semi-pro football for 10 years while pursuing his career as an NHL writer. He remains involved in football as a coach and referee, and is a Canadian Football League off-field official.