The Avalanche are very excited to announce the following players have made their prospective nations rosters for the upcoming World Juniors.
On the eve of the start of the season, it is exciting to see how much talent is developing within our prospect pool as a number of these players will have key roles at this year's World Juniors:
Team Canada: Connor Zary is a versatile forward who can play up and down the line up. He showed great chemistry with fellow Avs prospect Philip Tomasino in camp and they likely both move to the wing in this tournament. Canada boasts a dozen centers that could make this team so both will have to try and carve out a role of effective minutes by adding something more.
Both are incredibly intelligent players that like to play with the puck on their stick. Zary has bit more of a physical edge to his game, while Tomasino has a bit more speed - but they both see the ice well and are elite-level playmakers. Expect them both to start play in the middle-6 and move from their depending on who has the hot hand.
Team Sweden: Victor Soderstrom might be the top defender at this tournament, not just on his team. That sort of praise is rare (maybe once every 5 years). In the history books, perhaps the next elite Swedish defender in the mold of Karlsson, OEL, and Hedman is now Soderstrom.
He oozes confidence when out on the ice. He has the frame, strength and skating stride that you dream of in a defender. He is more than his physical tools as his mind and calming presence on the ice impact his team. He is likely the Capitan and with a new coach due to Covid-19 and the roster being a bit gutted, his leadership will play a huge part in any Swedish success.
Team Russia: Arseni Gritsyuk is back in Russia playing and has already played in the 3 major leagues (the KHL, VHL and MHL). While pointless in the KHL, he is earning some solid minutes. In the lower leagues and more against his peers, he is averaging over a point-per-game.
He will be playing on the wing, where he will use his speed to get in on the forecheck and to generate offensive. He is a lethal rush player but needs to commit to a 200-foot game to ensure he gets the minutes his offensive flair deserve.
Team USA: Patrick Moynihan is destined to be a 3rd line center. It has been his lot in life since being the same age as Alex Turcotte and Jack Hughes. His offensive game exists though and he is a capable player who can handle hard minutes.
He is the guy you have on the ice in the last minute protecting a lead on an important draw and the USA will need him throughout the tournament in tight games.
Team Czech: Patrick Novak is an interesting case study of being the best player on a bad team. He had the highest % of team points of any player in the WHL last year. He carries the puck and is a zone entry machine where he generates lots of opportunity in the offensive zone. Despite his small stature, he plays with a chip on his shoulder and is happy to go and get the puck on dump ins. He will chase the play all over the ice.
These six players are all key components of the future of our organization and we wish them well and much success at the upcoming tournament. Our prediction is a Canada vs Sweden Gold medal game, with Canada winning the Covid Cup 4-2.