Team Canada has finalized its roster for the upcoming U-20 World Junior Championship, hosted this year by the Czech Republic. The team has made one last cut, and TSN’s Mark Masters reports that it is Anaheim Ducks prospect Benoit-Olivier Groulx. Groulx, a 2018 second-round pick, has been having yet another strong season in the QMJHL and doing so on a poor Halifax Mooseheads team. The two-way pivot is likely a victim of a roster chock full of centers, with many already slated to line up on the wing. With “Bo” heading home, Masters has also shared Team Canada’s practice lines with their roster finalized, which is likely the way that they will line up to begin the tournament.
- Team Finland, looking to defend their championship performance from last year, has announced their leadership group for the WJC. Ottawa Senators 2019 first-round pick Lassi Thomson has been named captain, leading the team as their top defenseman. Thomson brings an array of experience to the squad, having played professionally in Finland this year, recording ten points in 23 games on loan with Ilves of the Liiga, as well as the junior level with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets last season. Given the Senators’ issues on the blue line, Thomson is a strong candidate to join the NHL ranks next season and his WJC performance could be telling of where he stands versus other elite prospects. Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Rasmus Kupari and Vancouver Canucks defensive prospect Toni Utunen will sere as alternates.
- Even after making a trio of cuts on Wednesday, Team USA still has a few tough decisions to make. For now, a few surprises remain on the roster, hopeful that they will get a chance to shine on the international stage. Overage prospect Parker Ford headlines that group, looking to make a name for himself after getting passed over in the NHL Draft. The Providence College freshman forward was a good if unspectacular player in the USHL, but has gotten off to a strong start in his NCAA career with 14 points in 17 games. Ford would be an intriguing name to watch for the Americans if he does in fact make the final roster. Other potential surprise inclusions on the roster include New York Islanders seventh-round defenseman Christian Krygier of Michigan State, Boston Bruins fourth-round center Curtis Hall of Yale, and Notre Dame teammates Jacob Pivonka and Trevor Janicke, late picks of the Islanders and Anaheim Ducks respectively.