Canadiens: Looking Back at Last Year's Top Performance from the WJC

Joshua Roy Dominates the Americans
Canada v Finland: Gold Medal Game - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship
Canada v Finland: Gold Medal Game - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship / Andy Devlin/GettyImages

 Another edition of the World Juniors is nearly upon us, with the 2024 WJC taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden. There will be four Habs prospects at the tournament, each of whom could play a vital role for their country. But I want to quickly flashback to last year’s World Juniors and look at the top performance by a Canadiens prospect at the tournament.

Joshua Roy played on the top line alongside Logan Stankoven and Connor Bedard, and the trio dominated the competition. Roy complimented the other two really well and completed a trio that was undoubtedly the tournament’s top line. Of course, Bedard’s 23 points in just seven games garnered most of the attention, but Roy chipped in, too.

The Canadiens prospect registered 11 points in seven games, including five goals, helping Canada win their second straight Gold Medal. In his total World Junior Career, Roy had 19 points in 14 games and two Gold Medals, which is not too shabby if you ask me. But his best performance came in last year’s semifinals versus the United States.

After Canada fell behind 2-0 early, Roy went to work, drawing assists on each of Team Canada’s first two goals to draw even. He then scored Canada’s fourth and sixth goals to put the Americans away and send his team to the Gold Medal Game. Roy had four points in total and was Canada’s best skater that night, no question – which is hard to do when you play on a line with Connor Bedard – but wasn’t awarded player of the game due to the exceptional performance of goaltender Thomas Milic. Still, Roy put his talents on display, even on the empty net goal, an often mundane play.

While an empty netter, Roy’s second goal was created by something Roy had done well all tournament long. Roy stripped top-five draft pick Luke Hughes of the puck and ripped it into the empty cage. Roy was a master at taking the puck away and put it to good use in all situations, including on the penalty kill. He wore many hats throughout the tournament and earned every second of ice time he got.

The coaches clearly trusted him, as he played on the penalty kill, on the powerplay, and even in overtime. And this leads us to the Gold Medal Game where Roy assisted on Dylan Guenther’s golden goal that gave Canada their second straight Gold Medal. He made a brilliant play, showing great patience outwaiting the sliding defender before getting the puck across for Guenther, who tapped it home. It was a great cap to an outstanding performance.

Hopefully, we get to see more of the same this year from the Habs prospects that will be in attendance. As a Canadian, I will be rooting for Canada to win, but I certainly could stomach seeing the Americans win if Jacob Fowler and Lane Hutson are directly responsible for it. The same goes for Filip Mešár and the Slovaks.

I’ll be there in Sweden to watch it all unfold, and I can’t wait. It should be a hell of a tournament. But the 2023 tournament in Halifax will undoubtedly be a tough act to follow.