A Rangers 2023 WJC Primer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the 2023 World Junior Championship starting up is just the cherry on top. This year’s tournament features a lot of future NHL players; the Montreal Canadiens lead the way with six drafted players, but usually, the New York Rangers are well-represented, with five drafted prospects of their own making the final cut for their respective countries.

The tournament consists of two groups that hold five teams each. The groups play one single round-robin series and then the top four teams from each group advance into a single elimination playoff. If you’re interested in reading all the rules for this international tournament you can find them here.

Last year’s World Juniors got a bit complicated with cases of COVID-19 forcing it to shut down and postpone until this past August as well as political unrest leading to the IIHF banning Russia from international hockey tournaments. The United States of America was looking to defend its gold medal but was upset in the quarterfinals by the up-and-coming Czechia team. That led the way to Canada marching to another gold medal by defeating Finland in OT. Let’s take a deeper look into each New York Rangers prospect, the role they may play for their team, and their team’s preliminary round schedule.

Canada

Brennan Othmann (LW) – 16th overall 2021

You’ve probably already heard of Othmann’s antics/achievements. With both his highlight reel goals and hits, he made quite the impression at the 2022 WJC. Judging from the small pre-tournament exhibition sample size this year, he’s back and looking to pick up right where he left off. He’ll likely see the most ice time with future number-one overall pick Connor Bedard and former teammate Shane Wright. We may be witness to some incredible things from this young forward as he looks to further cement his elite prospect status before joining the Rangers’ organization next season.

Games:

  • canada vs. Czechia – 12/26 6:30 PM EST
  • canada vs. Germany – 12/28 6:30 PM EST
  • canada vs. Austria – 12/29 6:30 PM EST
  • canada vs. Sweden – 12/31 6:30 PM EST

*All games are available on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States. FUBO TV is a streaming option and comes with a 7-day free trial.

Czechia

Jaroslav Chmelař (LW/RW) – 144th overall in 2021

With 10 points in 18 games, Chmelar is having a decent season at Providence College this year. He’s a returning player for Czechia and will more than likely play a bit higher up on the roster this year as a winger on either the second or third line. He’s a massive body standing at 6’4” and drives to the net hard looking for rebounds and deflections. He plays a physical game and doesn’t back down regardless of who he’s playing. This was seen when he upped his level of physicality in response to Othmann’s wrecking ball-style ripping through his team in the 2022 tournament.

Games:

  • Czechia vs. Canada – 12/26 6:30 PM EST
  • Czechia vs. Austria – 12/27 6:30 PM EST
  • Czechia vs. Sweden – 12/29 1:30 PM EST
  • Czechia vs. Germany – 12/31 1:30 PM EST

*All games are available on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States. FUBO TV is a streaming option and comes with a 7-day free trial.

Finland

Kalle Väisänen (RW) – 106th overall in 2021

A returning player from the 2022 WJC silver-winning Finland team, Väisänen is a towering winger skating in at 6′ 4”. He is currently playing for TPS in Finland and while having a bit of an underwhelming season thus far, he’s turned it on as of late. He will be counted on to be defensively sound and find ways to contribute from Finland’s bottom six.

Games:

  • Finland vs. Switzerland – 12/26 11:00 AM EST
  • Finland vs. Slovakia – 12/27 11:00 AM EST
  • Finland vs. Latvia – 12/29 11:00 AM EST
  • Finland vs. USA – 12/31 4:00 PM EST

*All games are available on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States. FUBO TV is a streaming option and comes with a 7-day free trial.

Slovakia

Adam Sykora (LW/C) – 63rd overall in 2022

Sykora is a feisty scoring winger. He can shoot, stickhandle, pass, and hit very well. There have been concerns about his smaller stature and skating ability di lui holding him back, but if you watch the kid play long enough, you’ll realize that’s a bunch of bologna. He has all the tools to become an NHL player and he will be playing a major role for Slovakia, their success will depend greatly on how impactful of a tournament he has. Additionally, there has been recent news of the Rangers trying to find a way to bring Sykora to North America to play in the WHL for the rest of this hockey season.

Games:

  • Slovakia vs. Finland – 12/27 11:00 AM EST
  • Slovakia vs. USA – 12/28 4:00 PM EST
  • Slovakia vs. Latvia – 12/30 11:00 AM EST
  • Slovakia vs. Switzerland – 12/31 11:00 AM EST

*All games are available on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States. FUBO TV is a streaming option and comes with a 7-day free trial.

United States of America

Noah Laba (C) – 111th overall in 2022

To be frank, not many people expected Laba to make the USA roster but his style of play brings something that the rest of the team is lacking, a physical edge. He’s had a solid season for the Colorado College Tigers with 7 goals and 4 assists and is the only NHL-drafted player on the roster. While still not leading his college team in points, he does lead them in penalty minutes. Laba will most likely be an extra forward and rotated in for specific matchups or in case of injury.

Games:

  • USA vs. Latvia – 12/26 4:00 PM EST
  • USA vs. Slovakia – 12/28 4:00 PM EST
  • USA vs. Switzerland – 12/29 4:00 PM EST
  • USA vs. Finland – 12/31 4:00 PM EST

*All games are available on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States. FUBO TV is a streaming option and comes with a 7-day free trial.


Stats from EliteProspects. com

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