The Team Canada official roster has been set and as always, it’s hard not to look at the roster and think of a certain player who deserves to be there. Every year, the Canadians have the luxury of choosing their team from a vast list of high-end prospects. There are so many to choose from, that there are always prospects that many fans think should have made the team.
Related: THW’s World Juniors Coverage
So, this year, I solved the problem. Canada is going to have two teams. Unfair to everyone else? Absolutely. Is a second team a realistic idea? Absolutely not. That’s ok, it’s the thought that counts. Most importantly, could this team win a medal? They might even beat what I will now be calling Team Canada A.
With that being explained, what would Team Canada B look like at the 2020 World Junior Championships?
Cedrick Andree, Colten Ellis, Hunter Jones
There’s an obvious starter in net for Canada, as he was the lone netminder cut from the Canada A selection camp: Peterborough Petes’ netminder Hunter Jones. Jones is a second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2019 NHL Draft. Despite having more experience with Team Canada than Nico Daws and Joel Hofer, he was cut from the group, falling right into the lap of the B squad.
Jones has been a two-time goaltender for the OHL in the Canada-Russia Series and represented Canada in the 2016 World Under-19 Junior A Challenge and the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Behind him, it gets a little more interesting. The backup position will be a hard-fought battle before Ottawa 67’s goalie Cedrick Andree and Rimouski Océanic backstop Colten Ellis. Andree has put together a solid season for the 67’s so far, becoming one of the OHL’s top goaltenders. He’s recorded a 2.46 goals against average (GAA) and a .915 save percentage (SV%) while going 17-5-0. He has never played for Team Canada, but he’s earned his place.
Similarly, Ellis is one of the QMJHL’s top puck-stoppers. This season, he has a 9-3-1 record, a 2.61 GAA and a .905 SV%. Ellis does have some history with Hockey Canada, playing in the World Under-18 Hockey Championship in 2018, putting up a 3.50 GAA and .887 SV%. The netminder was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2019, 93rd overall.
To start, I’d give Andree the edge, despite Pare having some history with Team Canada.
Peter Diliberatore, Thomas Harley, Ryan Merkley, Jeremie Poirier, Braden Schneider, Johnny Tychonick, and Jett Woo
On defence, of course we’re going to see the recent Team Canada cuts, Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect Peter Diliberatore, Dallas Stars’ prospect Thomas Harley, and 2020 NHL Draft-eligible Braden Schneider. Harley will take his place on the top line, as one of the top defenders on the team. He’s an elite skater with great puck-handling skills. He’ll be running the power play on this team.
To the right of Harley will be San Jose Sharks’ prospect Ryan Merkley. Markley has seemed to step up his game this season and is proving many of his critics wrong. There are still questions about his attitude, but he’s going to look great on this team next to Harley. There could be some forwards in this tournament that have a hard time keeping up with these two.
The second line will consist of two Team Canada snubs in Ottawa Senators’ Johnny Tychonick and Vancouver Canucks’ Jett Woo. Tychonick will be the offensive threat of the two, using his strong skating to make some plays for Team Canada B. He’ll also be manning the team’s second powerplay unit. Woo will be the calming, steady defensive presence who shuts forwards down with his physicality while shocking teams with bursts of offense.
Related: 2020 WJC Team Canada Preview
Diliberatore will find himself on the third line, holding down the fort. He’ll be the team’s main penalty-killing defenseman and the shutdown guy. He might just chip in a little bit of offense too. He’s next to Schneider, a two-way defenseman that will be helping out the offense a bit on this line. He’ll be leading the rush and doing a great job of clearing the net.
The team will be bringing along a seventh defenseman as well, another player eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, in Jérémie Poirier. He’s a very skilled rearguard who has been nearly a point-per-game in the QMJHL. Frankly, you could sub him anywhere in this defensive unit and he’ll play well.
Adam Beckman, Benoit-Oliver Groulx, Dylan Holloway, Peyton Krebs, Alex Newhook, Serron Noel, Cole Perfetti, Samuel Poulin, Jamison Rees, Ryan Suzuki, Philip Tomasino, Brayden Tracey, Connor Zary
This is an excellent forward group. The Team Canada cuts all make this squad, along with a number of snubs that weren’t even invited to the Canadian camp. We’ll start at the top and work our way down for this one.
The top line will see the final Canadian who was cut from the main roster, Benoit-Oliver Groulx holding down the middle. The Anaheim Ducks pick in 2018 (54th overall), will bring his high IQ and skill to the line along with his ability to grind it out, making him a tough opponent in every game. On the left side, another Ducks’ prospect in Brayden Tracey will match Groulx’s ability to battle, and likely be the goal-scorer of the top trio. The line is rounded out by Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs, who compliments the others with his ability to create offense and elite vision.
The second line will be as good in their own end as they are in the offensive end. Nashville Predators’ prospect Philip Tomasino will be in the middle here, wearing the opponents down and beating them with his speed. His two-way game will be matched on the right side by Colorado Avalanche prospect Alex Newhook, a cut from the main team. Newhook brings a tremendous amount of offense to this line, as does the left-winger Jamieson Rees. The Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect brings his hard-working style, puck skills, and playmaking to an excellent top-six.
The third line might be my favourite of the bunch, the all-2020 NHL Draft-eligible line. Dylan Holloway does his work down the middle, bringing speed, creativity, and vision to the group. Just imagine him feeding right-winger Cole Perfetti, who will be piling up the goals on this line. He just may be the best offensive threat on this team. One of his biggest challengers for that title is on the left side though, Connor Zary. He’s another extremely offensive player with a nose for the net. This line could be the most exciting in the entire tournament.
The fourth line will be anchored by Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman, who could very easily be moved up the lineup. He’s a very intelligent player who has been extremely consistent with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. He’ll bring that to Team Canada B. On his left, Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Samuel Poulin brings his offensive flair and his ability to battle to the bottom line, which could very easily be a top line. On the right, another Hurricanes’ prospect in Ryan Suzuki will be driving the offense, racking up the assists to the two players to his left.
Finally, the Team Canada B squad will also have big winger Serron Noel as it’s 13th forward. He could very easily be inserted anywhere in this lineup, providing great skating and more offense into this group.
This forward unit is a hard-working, offensively gifted group. It could very easily be one of the best forward corps in the tournament and could definitely challenge for a medal.
|Brayden Tracey||Benoit-Oliver Groulx||Peyton Krebs|
|Jamieson Rees||Philip Tomasino||Alex Newhook|
|Connor Zary||Dylan Holloway||Cole Perfetti|
|Samuel Poulin||Adam Beckman||Ryan Suzuki|
|Extra: Serron Noel|
|Thomas Harley||Ryan Merkley|
|Johnny Tychonick||Jett Woo|
|Peter Diliberatore||Braden Schneider|
|Extra: Jérémie Poirier|
Who else would you put on the Canada B team? Do you think this team could win a medal in this year’s event? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.