The 2021 World Junior Championship tournament is scheduled to be played in about eight months, and I’m sure we’re all hoping things to return to normal by that time – not because of the tournament but just to get back to some sort of normalcy within a reasonable time. The tournament will be played in Canada with Edmonton and Red Deer hosting the event.
Since I have a lot of time on my hands, I started doing some early lineup projections for the tournament. And before long, I had finished them for all the major countries. So, I decided to do my best for the other countries as well and then share those projections with you. In this article, I’ll go through Group A countries (Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany), and another article will come out a bit later where I go through Group B countries (Russia, Sweden, USA, Czech Republic and Austria).
The 2021 tournament will be the last one for players born in 2001, so teams are mostly dominated by that age group. But I believe in choosing players based on merit instead of just age, so I included a bunch of 2002 born players as well as some 2003 born players as well.
The major countries have too many players to choose from, so I’m sure everyone will disagree with some of the choices I’ve made. But I’ve also included some notable cuts so you can easily make changes in your head. For the sake of this project, I assumed that only Jack Hughes (NJD), Kaapo Kakko (NYR), Kirby Dach (CHI) and Alexis Lafrenière (2020) are unavailable because they’ll be playing in the NHL. Of course it’s likely that some others will be unavailable as well, either because of injury or because they’re also playing in the NHL. But I didn’t want to speculate, so I only removed the sure things from my projections.
To keep things consistent, I chose a roster of 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goalies for all the teams. Obviously some teams could decide to go with 12 or 14 forwards but again, I didn’t want to speculate with that. There has also been talks about expanding the rosters for next season but I haven’t seen anything official about that yet, so I did the projections with the assumption that roster size will continue to be 20 skaters and three goalies like it has been in previous years.
Every player has either their NHL team abbreviation or the NHL Draft when they’re first-time eligible mentioned after their name in parenthesis. If neither one is mentioned, that means the player was eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft but didn’t get drafted. Obviously all under-20 players will re-enter the 2020 NHL Draft but for clarity’s sake, they don’t have anything mentioned after their name.
Without further ado, let’s get to the projected lineups.
Right off the bat we go with the team that has more qu