Montreal Canadiens Prospects To Play Huge Roles In WJC Quarterfinals

Oct 1, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Filip Mesar (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Filip Mesar (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens sent six prospects to the 2023 World Junior championships in Halifax and Moncton. They will have six prospects suiting up in quarterfinal action today, although not the same six.

Huh? While Vinzenz Rohrer and Team Austria were eliminated from medal contention already, Owen Beck was added as a last minute injury replacement and will be the 7th Canadiens prospect to play in this event when he suits up for the first time today.

Rohrer and Austria are still playing, as they will face Latvia in a Best-of-3 format in the coming days to decide which team qualifies for the 2024 tournament and which country gets relegated and sent down to the second tier next year.

Austria will lean heavily on Rohrer to try and stay in the top group next year, and aside from Beck, all the other Canadiens prospects are going to be playing huge roles for their teams later today as they try to stay alive.

Engstrom vs Kapanen to kick things off

The first game features Sweden taking on Finland in a great quarterfinal matchup at 12:00 PM Atlantic time. Sweden will have Canadiens prospect Adam Engstrom on their top defence pairing. The third round pick from the 2022 NHL Draft plays a lot of minutes at even strength and on the penalyy kill, and has put up three points in four games.

Engstrom will be going head-to-head to with Oliver Kapanen of Finland. The Habs second round pick in 2021 is playing in all situations for Finland, who finished second in their group, and is centering the team’s top line. He is more of a defensive than offensive player but there is no question he will play a prominent role as the Finns try to take down their rivals today.

Later in the day in Moncton, Germany will try to take out the heavily favoured team from the United States. USA will be hoping for a blowout, but if they are in need of a goal late in the game, they will be looking to offensive defenceman and 2022 second round pick Lane Hutson to create offence with his incredible speed, puck skills and vision.

The final game of the day will take place at 7:30 PM AT in Halifax and will feature Canada and Slovakia, and a trio of Canadiens prospects.

Joshua Roy was quickly bumped up to Canada’s best line early in the tournament and is playing the wing with Connor Bedard and Logan Stankoven. It is easy to suggest anyone could fit in well with Bedard, but it takes a special and intelligent player to skate alongside someone as brilliant as Bedard.

Roy has fit in extremely well thanks to his two-way game and hockey sense. Roy is tied for fifth in tournament scoring with six points in four games. He also plays a big role on Canada’s penalty killing unit.

Roy will be teammates with Owen Beck for the first time today. Beck was brought in as an injury replacement in time for today’s game and will likely play as the 13th forward. His great faceoff ability make him a candidate to move up to the fourth line as a regular and perhaps take some key defensive zone draws if they game remains close.

If Slovakia is able to keep it close with Canada, you can bet Habs first round pick Filip Mesar will have something to do with it. He has scored five points in four games, tied for his team’s lead and will probably play more than 20 minutes in today’s game.

That is all six Habs prospects who will be in action today, and they promise to be a big factor in each of their respective team’s games. It should be a fantastic day of games for fans of the Canadiens to take in.

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