As November begins to
wind down, December starts to creep up (as it usually does). You know what that means? That’s right, the
World Juniors are right around the corner! This year, the 2017 International
Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship takes place Dec. 26, 2016 – Jan. 5, 2017 in Montreal and
Toronto. This may (or may not) affect a number of Winnipeg Jets, so let’s take
a look at who is eligible and may get a chance to compete for their country.
With much help from our
resident Jets’ Prospects expert, Anthony Lenting, I’ve
put together a list of Winnipeg Jets who are eligible to participate in this
year’s World Juniors:
- Jansen Harkins (CAN)
- Logan Stanley (CAN)
- Michael Spacek (CZE)
- Mikhail Berdin (RUS)
- Jacob Cederholm (SWE)
- Jack Roslovic (USA)
- Erik Foley (USA)
eligible but very highly unlikely to play:
- Patrik Laine (FIN)
As a 19 year-old
be a valuable older presence on the team and would represent the best option
for Jets fans to root for on the Canadian team. Though he was born in
Cleveland, OH, Harkins has represented Canada twice before: winning gold at the
2014 Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia and bronze at the 2015 IIHF U18s
in Switzerland. As of Anthony’s latest update,
Harkins has averaged 1.28ppg through 18 games with the Prince George
Cougars of the WHL.
The Jets’ second first-round
pick in the 2016 entry draft, Logan
Stanley, is a
long-shot to be considered for this year’s squad. Though he has represented
Canada in 2014 at the U17s and 2015 at the U18s, it is thought that the
6’7″ Stanley will stay in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires, where he is currently moving between the first pairing with Sergachev and second pairing with Austin McEneny.
The Jets’ highest scoring
prospect in the CHL, Michael
Spacek, is probably set to make the most noise at the WJC. The 19 year
old Czech has been there before, representing the Czech Republic in both 2014
and 2015 at the U18s and 2015 and 2016 at the World Juniors. Last year, when
the Czechs finished in fifth, Spacek had 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.
In an area that the Jets
seem to be the richest, another exciting goaltending prospect may get to strut
his stuff at this year’s WJC. Russia’s Mikhail
Berdin, currently playing for the Sioux Falls Stampeders of the USHL,
may challenge Ilya Samsonov as a starter. Samsonov played in 2 games last year,
winning both with a .956SV%. Berdin is behind Connor Hellebuyck, Eric Comrie, and Jamie Phillips as far as Jets prospects
go, and it would be nice to see what he is capable of on a world stage.
As a defence-first defenceman
whose leadership skills have been highly touted, Jacob Cederholm was
chosen 97th overall by the Jets in the 2016 Entry Draft. As an 18
year-old, the 6’3″ right-hander currently loaned to IK Pantern
(Allsvenskan, second tier behind SHL) in Sweden is a long shot to make this
year’s squad, especially since he wasn’t invited to the evaluation camp held at
the beginning of August in Plymouth, MI.
The most likely Jets prospect to represent his
country at the World Juniors this year is 19 year old centreman Jack Roslovic. With 3 goals and 7
assists in 15 games played, Roslovic leads the Manitoba Moose in scoring in his
first year pro. Roslovic had a great year in the NCAA last year with the Miami
RedHawks and was expected by many to be selected for the USA team for last year’s
WJC before being snubbed (along with Kyle Connor). It will be interesting to
see if the Jets allow Jack to leave the Moose and play at this tournament.
Roslovic has represented his country twice before: in 2014 at the U17s and in
2015 at the U18s.
One final Jets asset that
will be considered for the American team is Providence College’s Erik Foley, who has 13 points in 10 games. Foley won a
bronze medal for the ‘Stars and Stripes’ in 2014-15 at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial
Tournament. Foley has speed and skill to go along with an emerging power
forward style of game. Roslovic and Foley were two standouts from Jets rookie
camp and would be an asset to Team USA.
The preliminary roster
for the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team will be unveiled in early December. Kyle
Connor, after being snubbed last year, will not be eligible to play for the
USA, as his December 9th birthday means he will be 20 years old by
Below are the groupings
for the tournament, which was won by Patrik Laine and Finland last year.