Montreal Canadiens prospect performances on the 2023 World Juniors
The Montreal Canadiens have six prospects representing six different countries at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship. Their performances will be updated daily in this article.
|Lane Hutson||2022||United States||LD||1||14:07||0||0||0||0|
December 26: Sweden vs Austria
Austria was no match for the Swedes in the second game of the competition, falling by an 11-0 score. Every single skater for Sweden earned a plus in the game, and Engstrom ended at +4. Swedish head coach Magnus Havelid didn’t have to tax any of his players in the blowout, with the game-high being 18:30 for Axel Sandin Pellikka. Engstrom, who began the game on the top pairing, punched out at 15:37.
He had secondary assists on goals six and seven for Sweden, taking the points lead among Habs prospects after one day. He’ll be fresh for the next game on Tuesday afternoon when the team may need to play a bit more defense.
December 27: Sweden vs. Germany
In the final seconds of the first period of Sweden’s game versus Germany, Engstrom shot the puck from the point, and it appeared to take a deflection of one of his teammates before going into the net. The IIHf rarely scrutinizes such plays after the fact to award the proper credit, so the goal remains on Engström’s stat line, his third point to go with two assists from the opening match. The game proved to be a goalie duel between Carl Lindbom and Nikita Quapp, and Engstrõm’s goal was the only one scored.
Despite how closely contested the game was compared to the 11-0 win a day earlier, Sweden’s head coach once more distributed the ice time fairly evenly. Six defensemen played at least 16 minutes, and the highest total was under 21. Engstrom ended toward the lower end of the range at 17:08, but it’s hard to find many faults with a player currently tied for seventh in tournament scoring.
Next game: Dec. 29 vs Czechia
Dec 26: Finland vs Switzerland
Kapanen has been named captain of Team Finland in his second World Juniors, following a silver medal performance in the summer. The team leader now has work to do with his teammates to put a surprising loss to Switzerland behind them after the tournament opened with an upset.
He finished the game as a -1, not only on the ice for the overtime goal scored by Attilio Biasca, but a step late getting to the Swiss player after leaving his station to try to win the puck on the boards. Kapanen will know he needs to do more to help his team win, and we should expect to see a better showing from Finland in their second game, though offense is still expected to be an issue.
December 27: Finland vs Slovakia
Finland needed to be better after its opening loss to Switzerland; Captain Oliver Kapanen needed to be much better after a rough first game. On Tuesday versus Slovakia, he responded with one of the best individual performances from a skater in the tournament so far.
He was effective in the faceoff circle and hard in puck battles to win possession. He registered three shots in the game, one of them a highlight-reel wraparound for his first goal.
He added an assist on the next Finnish goal to end the day with two points, and claimed the player of the game honor following the 5-2 win that put Finland back on track.
Next game: Dec. 29 vs Latvia
Dec 26: Canada vs Czechia
It wasn’t the typical relentless offensive effort Canada had shown in pre-tournament matched that they brought into their first meaningful game of the winter. They seemed to take their opponent lightly, and that came back to bite them as the Czechs scored two quick goals to end the first period, then another early in the second that proved enough to pull off an upset.
Unfortunately for Roy, his most notable play in the game was being a split-second offside on a goal that would have had Canada up 2-0 in the opening period. Canada’s hopes of a comeback were then undone when his centreman, Zach Dean, was assessed a match penalty in the middle frame, on which the Czechs scored another two goals. It’s now a question of whether Dean will face any further discipline, and it could mess with arguably Canada’s most effective shutdown line if that comes to pass.
Roy did launch three shots on target as he tried to get his team back in it, but Canada struggled to solve goaltender Tomáš Suchánek and he was one of many players left pointless on the night.
Next game: Dec. 28 vs Germany
December 27 vs Finland
Mesar was witness to Kapanen’s bounceback effort on Tuesday, and wasn’t able to come up with a counter. The 2022 first-round pick was leaned upon heavily for Slovakia with over 20 minutes played. He was a -2 with only one shot on goal.
Slovakia will need the playmaking forward to be a difference-maker to make any impact in this tournament. We should expect a rebound similar to what Kapanen produced when Slovakia tries to avoid an 0-2 start versus the United States on Wednesday.
Next game: Dec. 28 vs US
Dec 26: Austria vs Sweden
Rohrer was a surprise omission from the lineup just before Austria’s game with Sweden. We learned that he hadn’t been feeling well and therefore didn’t head to the arena for the game, which ended up being a blowout at the hands of the Swedes.
Austrian head coach Kirk Furey says Vinzenz Rohrer (MTL) just “wasn’t feeling the best.” They’re hoping to get him back tomorrow. Said they missed him. “Heart of a lion.”
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 26, 2022
We’ll hope this isn’t a major illness for Austria’s sparkplug, and that he has recovered in time for the team’s game on Tuesday.
December 27: Austria vs Czechia
The return of Rohrer to the lineup didn’t do much to change Austria’s fortunes. A day after dropping a game 11-0 to Sweden, they were soundly defeated once more, surrendering more goals (nine) than they recorded shots (eight).
The only NHL-drafted player on Austria’s roster, Rohrer played the most minutes of any skater on the team and miraculously escaped without being on the ice for a goal. He registered one of the eight shots on Czech goaltender Tomáš Suchánek, but couldn’t snap the nation’s goalless streak that stretched to two full games.
At this point, the realistic goal for the Austrians is probably just to score a goal in their two remaining games of the group stage. They seem destined to wind up in the relegation round, and it’s difficult to envision them sticking around in the Top Division for 2024.
Next game: Dec. 29 vs Canada
Dec 26: USA vs Latvia
Team USA played a tougher match than they probably expected versus Latvia in the tournament opener. a game that was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. The Americans scored three goals to win comfortably in the end, but they flirted with an upset early.
Hutson didn’t register any points, or even shots, in the 5-2 win. He played just 14:07, which was the second-lowest total among the defense corps, and that may be the case throughout the tournament as Luke Hughes takes the offensive minutes Hutson thrives in. In his time in game one, Hutson was using his stick well to break up the few offensive plays Latvia had and aid his team in transition.
Next game: Dec. 28 vs Slovakia
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