Handicapping the Flames’ World Junior contenders

Photo credit:OHL Images
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
Well friends, we’re about a month away from World Junior selection camps opening and then the big event beginning on Boxing Day. As usual, there are several Calgary Flames prospects eligible to participate – this year it’s everyone born in 2002 or earlier. But some players have better chances than others, so we’ve put together this quick rundown of who’s probably in, who has a chance, and who likely won’t be going.

Strong chances

D Yan Kuznetsov – Russia
A blueliner with the Stockton Heat, Kuznetsov doesn’t have showy offensive numbers yet this season. But he’s a freakin’ teenager playing in one of the top leagues in the world, he’s got tons of experience with the Russian national team at various levels, and he was on their World Junior team last season as an 18-year-old. He’ll need to play his way off the team.
F Matthew Coronato – United States
A freshman with Harvard, Coronato’s off to a nice start to his collegiate career already. He attended USA Hockey’s summer camp and already has international experience with Team USA, so the combination of his stature, skillset and performance to date will give him a very strong chance at wearing the red, white and blue this year.

Moderate chance

D Jérémie Poirier – Canada
Poirier is off to another strong start for Saint John in the QMJHL. While Poirier has some Hockey Canada experience, he wasn’t invited to their summer camp. Of the three QMJHL defensemen who were at that camp, he has more points than all but Miguel Tourigny. He’ll get a look, but there are a lot of blueliners in Canada’s 2002 age group vying for spots.
F Rory Kerins – Canada
It was a bit of a surprise when Kerins was invited to Canada’s summer camp, but he’s responded to a year spent practising with the AHL’s Stockton Heat with a breakout season. As of this morning, he’s the OHL’s leader in points. That alone will get him a look, but there are a lot of Canadian forwards so he’ll need to keep it up.
F Jack Beck – Canada
After not playing at all in his draft year, Beck is among the OHL’s leaders in goals and has averaged a goal scored per game played. He’s likely on Hockey Canada’s radar for that reason alone. But Beck is a year younger than Kerins – Kerins was born in 2002, Beck in 2003 – so the brass may opt to go older with the thought process that Beck will be eligible to play in this tournament next year.
F William Strömgren – Sweden
Strömgren is a prominent player on a good Swedish junior outfit, Rögle BK. He has previous experience with Tre Kronor internationally and has participated in some precursor tournaments this season. He’s not a lock because there are a lot of good forwards in his age group, but he seems like a player who could provide useful depth for Sweden.

Low chance

G Arsenii Sergeev – Russia
Sergeev is off to a great start in the USHL, but he has no international experience and Russia tends to favour domestic players. (And they have a lot of young domestic goaltenders to choose from.)
D Cole Jordan – Canada
Jordan has been injured for much of this season and so his numbers aren’t terribly impressive. He also has no international experience.
D Cameron Whynot – Canada
Whynot is off to a decent start to his season and has previous Hockey Canada experience, but he wasn’t at the summer camp and there are lots of age-eligible defenders with showier offensive numbers.
F Lucas Ciona – Canada
Ciona has no Hockey Canada experience and merely decent offensive numbers.
F Cole Huckins – Canada
Huckins has no Hockey Canada experience and merely decent offensive numbers.

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