What if there was a Under 23 World Cup of Hockey?

Michael Kosciesza

2021-04-30

Photo courtesy of Mayors Manor

We are in the midst of the Under 18 World Championships, which incorporates the best players in the world not owned by NHL clubs. Well not everyone but mostly everyone, Owen Power, Matt Beniers, Kent Johnson and William Eklund should have their name called early in the NHL draft this year but are too old for the tournament. This is the premier scouting event of the year if you don’t include the World Junior tournament. 

I love best on best tournaments and the idea of players representing their country. I have not missed a World Junior tournament and have all my fingers and toes crossed for a healthy and safe Olympics in 2022. I volunteered at and was a big fan of the World Cup of Hockey held in Toronto in 2016 and would love to see that event make a return. The concept was elite with all the top tier teams fielding squads as well as a Team North America for under 23 players and a World to give the Roman Josi’s, Zdeno Chara’s and Freddy Andersen a fighting chance on a melting pot team of the countries with shallower talent pools. 

What if we did the same tournament but with prospects? 

Yes, I know it won’t happen because we already, in non COVID times, have multiple scouting tournaments and it would take away from the World Juniors but hear me out. The same concept as the World Cup except the Team North America team would be made up of players who have not been drafted and are in their draft year. 

Let’s see how the tournament rosters might shape up if the tournament was held today. 

First off, my eligibility will be only players that would currently be considered a prospect aka less than 50 NHL games total or 25 in a campaign (aka Jason Robertson will not be featured, sorry USA). I’ll also say they have to be under 23.

 

Rosters

 

Team Canada

 

Forwards

  1. Quinton Byfield
  2. Morgan Frost
  3. Barret Hayton
  4. Cole Perfetti
  5. Connor McMichael
  6. Dylan Cozens
  7. Alex Newhook
  8. Peyton Krebs
  9. Joe Valeno
  10. Philip Tomasino
  11. Adam Beckman
  12. Seth Jarvis
  13. Mavrik Bourque
  14. Nolan Foote
  15. Dawson Mercer

Defence

  1. Bowen Byram
  2. Evan Bouchard
  3. Ryan Merkley
  4. Calen Addison
  5. Pierre Oliver Joseph
  6. Thomas Harley
  7. Conor Timmins
  8. Kaiden Guhle

Goalies

  1. Joel Hofer
  2. Ian Scott
  3. Michael DiPietro

 

Seth Jarvis (CAR) Photo courtesy of the Chicago Wolves/AHL

 

I love Seth Jarvis, Adam Beckman and Ryan Merkley all getting an opportunity to play for Cananda which is an opportunity that has alluded them at the World Juniors. Byram and Pierre Oliver Joseph are borderline too NHL seasoned to be on here for the same reason I left Jamie Drysdale off and that is because they are basically NHL regular’s at this point. Either way this team is loaded with talent and talent that will be in the NHL very soon and is already on the cusp playing pro hockey somewhere. I think when you pair that with their goalies who are all big game goalies there is no reason to think they wouldn’t be a favourite for Gold. 

 

Team USA

 

Forwards

 

  1. Trevor Zegras
  2. Cole Caufield
  3. Nick Robertson
  4. Matthew Boldy
  5. Jack Studnicka
  6. Alex Turcotte
  7. Arthur Kaliev
  8. Tyler Madden
  9. Dylan Holloway
  10. Ryan Poehling
  11. Bobby Brink
  12. Wade Allison
  13. Shane Pinto
  14. Trent Federic
  15. Sasha Chmelevski


Defence

 

  1. Scott Perunovich
  2. David Farrance
  3. Cam York
  4. Jake Sanderson
  5. Jack Rathbone
  6. Bode Wilde
  7. Dylan Samberg
  8. Joey Keane

 

Goalies

  1. Spencer Knight
  2. Joseph Woll
  3. Drew Commesso

 

Cole Caufield (MTL) Photo courtesy of USA Today

 

Man this team is deep. Their Defence is strong one through five with three capable players who could step up for that sixth spot. Up front they are laugh out loud good with a top-nine that features Trevor Zegras, Cole Caufield, Nick Robertson, Matthew Boldy, Jack Studnicka, Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliev, Tyler Madden and Dylan Holloway. Robertson, Studnicka and Kaliev have been a nightmare for OHL goalies for year sand the other six are basically a who’s who of the NCAA of recent. Add Joseph Woll backing up generational, decorated goalie talent Spencer Knight and we’ve got a candidate for gold. 

 

Team Sweden

 

Forwards

  1. Lucas Raymond
  2. Alexander Holtz
  3. Isac Lundeström
  4. Carl Grundstrom
  5. Samuel Fagemo
  6. Noel Gunler
  7. Emil Bemström
  8. Jonatan Berggren
  9. Lucas Elvenes
  10. Simon Holmström
  11. Lias Andersson
  12. David Gustafsson
  13. Zion Nybeck
  14. Teddy Niederbach
  15. Emil Heinemen

 

Defence

  1. William Wallinder
  2. Erik Brannstrom
  3. Victor Soderstrom
  4. Nils Lundkvist
  5. Timothy Liljegren
  6. Philip Broberg
  7. Tobias Bjornfot
  8. Emil Andrae

 

Goalies

  1. Hugo Alnefelt
  2. Filip Gustavsson
  3. Mads Sogaard

 

Lucas Raymond (DET) Photo courtesy of hockeymagasinet.com

 

This is, in my opinion the strongest non-North American team. Strong versatile talent at every position and a nice blend of players with slight NHL seasoning and high-end prospects. The only thing they are missing is depth up the middle. They’re strongest forwards are all wingers but I don’t know if this will be as much of a detriment with strong depth, good defence and three capable goalies. Even if possibly their countries best goalie will be playing against them. 

 

Team Finland

Forwards

  1. Anton Lundell
  2. Aleksi Heponiemi
  3. Rasmus Kupari
  4. Kristian Vesalainen
  5. Emil Bemstrom
  6. Otto Koivula
  7. Jesse Ylönen
  8. Eetu Lu