The 2023 World Junior Championship will soon kick off in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the under-20 men will compete for their countries and the gold medal. Several prospects of the Columbus Blue Jackets are participating, but a few notables will be missing from the Team Canada roster. Jordan Dumais was invited to the camp and was one of the final cuts, but Denton Mateychuk and Corson Ceulemans were completely left off of the camp roster. Curious decisions indeed.
Let’s take a look at the teams Columbus fans should keep an eye on.
All three Columbus prospects in the tournament will be playing for Czechia — David Jiricek, Stanislav Svozil, and Martin Rysavy. There is a possibility we could see a Jiricek-Svozil defensive pairing, something that may also be seen in Columbus next season. Both of these guys are highly regarded prospects that are having breakout seasons with their respective clubs. Rysavy doesn’t jump off the page like the other two, but he will play an important role for Team Czechia. He is a big body that can disrupt on the forecheck.
Also on the team is David Spacek, a prospect for the Minnesota Wild. If that name sounds familiar, that is because he is the son of former Blue Jacket defenseman Jaroslav Spacek. David was born in Columbus in 2003.
It is okay to be a little annoyed by the roster snubs by Team Canada, but Blue Jackets fans have two reasons to watch their games. Those two reasons are Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli. These two centers are franchise changers and the Blue Jackets will have their fingers crossed at the Draft Lottery. Not only that, but the two, especially Bedard, are dynamic players that can make any game exciting.
If the Blue Jackets manage to miss out on Bedard or Fantilli in the upcoming draft, they may have their eyes set on Leo Carlsson. This is a big tournament for Carlsson and his performance, for better or for worse, could have a big impact on his final draft position. He currently plays in the SHL where he has put up respectable numbers in a professional league. World Juniors, however, is not a professional league. Carlsson will be out to prove he belongs in the same conversation as Bedard and Fantilli by dominating against his peers.
The only Ohio connection for Team USA is Dylan Duke from Strongsville, Ohio, a prospect for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The roster is made up of mostly 2021/2022 draft picks like Logan Cooley, Cutter Gauthier, and Luke Hughes, plus a few mid-to-late first round prospects for the upcoming draft.
The games begin on December 26th and can be seen on the NHL Network in the US and on TSN in Canada.
Are there any other players or storylines you will be watching in this tournament? Sound off in the comments below.