It’s World Junior time!
This year, the IIHF Under-20 World Championship tournament is back in Canada as the games will be split between Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
Last year Avalanche fans were able to watch as top defensive prospects Cale Makar and Conor Timmins dominated for team Canada. Those two have since aged out, so this winter it is the forwards with whom we can start to get excited about.
Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers are the team’s two best forward prospects and both will be at the tournament playing a big role for their respective countries.
Four Colorado Avalanche prospects will be in Group A so we will get a lot of “Av on Av” action during the preliminary round. The Czech team, along with Russia and Canada are the ones Avalanche fans are going to have a keen eye on as some of the organization’s best prospects will be suiting up in the tournament.
For a full preview of the tournament, check out contributor Lauren’s WJC preview that she published at our sister site RawCharge.com. It has everything you need to know and more.
Martin Kaut - W - Czech Republic
The 16th overall selection in last June’s Draft, Martin Kaut will be as been putting together a decent season so far with the Colorado Eagles. With 12 points though 26 games, Kaut has adapted to the AHL game relatively quickly and should be up with the Avalanche next season.
To go along with Kaut, Martin Necas, and Filip Zadina have also being released from their NHL teams. This will give the Czech team one of the most dangerous lines in the entire tournament.
Schedule: Dec. 26 - 2pm MST vs Switzerland; Dec. 28 - 6pm MST vs Russia; Dec. 29 - 6pm MST vs Canada; Dec. 31 - 2pm MST vs Denmark
Nikolai Kovalenko - W - Russia
Kovalenko was the 171st selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and has spent the season as the youngest player on Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. His four goals in 23 games are the second most by any U20 player in the KHL this season. He is a skilled playmaker that has been playing in Russia’s top-6 during exhibition games.
To add to this, Nikolai Kovalenko is also on the team according to @russiahockey, so #goavsgo fans don't need to worry. Two roster spots remain open, competing for those are: Saveliy Olshanskiy, Yevgeniy Kalabushkin, Nikita Shashkov and Alexander Khovanov. #WorldJuniors https://t.co/c0W9y7OFGI— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) December 26, 2018
Danil Zhuravlyov - D - Russia
Along with Kovalenko, 18-year-old defender Danil Zhuravlyov has also made team Russia. The 2018 fifth-round pick is a bit of a surprise to make the team, but it looks like he is expected to play a big role on the Russian blue line. Zhuravlyov played on thne bottom pair for Russia during pre-tournament games and he logged some penalty kill time.
When the Avs drafted Zhuravlyov out of the MHL last season, little was known about him. He has zero points through 24 games with Bars Kazan in Russian’s second-tier VHL, but the simply fact that he’s playing regularly as a professional as an 18-year-old is a great sign. This tournament will be a great chance for Avalanche fans to get a good look at hos he stacks up against some of the best young players in the world.
Team Russia Schedule: Dec. 27 - 2pm MST vs Denmark; Dec. 28 - 6pm MST vs Czech; Dec. 30 - 6pm MST vs Switzerland; Dec. 31 - 6pm MST vs Canada
Shane Bowers - C - Team Canada
Shane Bowers is the bonus from the Matt Duchene trade. If the deal ended at Samuel Girard and the first round pick, Avalanche fans would be happy - the fact that Bowers looks likely to make an impact in the NHL is icing on the cake. He scored the shootout winner in one of Team Canada’s selection camp exhibition games and has worked his way onto the team after coming to camp as a long shot.
Bowers has five goals and three assists through 15 games with BU, but he isn’t with Team Canada to provide offense. Canada will rely on him to play in more defensive situations and on the penalty kill.
Schedule: Dec. 26 - 6pm MST vs Denmark; Dec. 27 - 6pm MST vs Switzerland; Dec. 29 - 6pm MST vs Czech; Dec. 31 - 6pm MST vs Russia
Sampo Ranta - W - Finland
Ranta wasn’t named to Finland’s roster when they submitted their list to the IIHF last night. That said, he is one of four players that are in the running for the final two spots. We will know in a few hours whether or not he has made the team.
The 18-year-old Avs prospect has six points through 13 games in his first season with the University of Minnesota. Ranta will bring a lot of speed to the lineup for team Finland.
Finland is set to be a powerhouse this year, so even if Ranta is on the roster, he likely won’t be playing a very big role on the team. He would be the only Avalanche prospect to be playing in Group B.
Schedule: Dec. 26 - 8:30pm MST vs Sweden; Dec. 27 - 8:30pm MST vs Kazakhstan; Dec. 29 - 4:30pm MST vs Slovakia; Dec. 31 - 8:30pm MST vs USA
Tean Finland roster for the opening day of #WorldJuniors.— FinnProspects (@FinnProspects) December 26, 2018
Lassi Lehtinen will likely be the third goalie. Anttoni Honka, Olli Kaskinen, Sampo Ranta and Valtteri Puustinen are outside the team at the moment and two of them will likely fill the empty roster spots #U20fi #Leijonat pic.twitter.com/dKShWOyCev
How to watch
Here is the complete broadcast schedule for fans in both Canada and the United States:
2019 World Juniors Broadcast Schedule
|Dec. 26||Czech Republic||Switzerland||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN 1/4/5||NHL Network|
|Dec. 26||USA||Slovakia||6:30pm/3:30pm||TSN 2||NHL Network|
|Dec. 26||Canada||Denmark||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN||NHL Network - Joined in progress|
|Dec. 26||Finland||Sweden||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 3/5||NHL Network|
|Dec. 27||Russia||Denmark||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN 1/4/5||NHL Network|
|Dec. 27||Slovakia||Sweden||6:30pm/3:30pm||TSN 2||NHL Network Replay: Dec 28 8AM|
|Dec. 27||Switzerland||Canada||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN 1/4/5||NHL Network|
|Dec. 27||Finland||Kazakhstan||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 5||NHL Network|
|Dec. 28||Czech Republic||Russia||8:00pm/5:00pm||TSN 1/3/4||NHL Network|
|Dec. 28||Kazakhstan||USA||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 3/5||NHL Network|
|Dec. 29||Denmark||Switzerland||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN 1/4||NHL Network|
|Dec. 29||Slovakia||Finland||6:30pm/3:30pm||TSN.ca/TSN App||NHL Network Replay: Dec. 30 2PM|
|Dec. 29||Canada||Czech Republic||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN 1/3/4||NHL Network|
|Dec. 29||Sweden||USA||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 3||NHL Network|
|Dec. 30||Switzerland||Russia||8:00pm/5:00pm||TSN 2||NHL Network|
|Dec. 30||Kazakhstan||Slovakia||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 2||NHL Network|
|Dec. 31||Denmark||Czech Republic||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN||NHL Network|
|Dec. 31||Sweden||Kazakhstan||6:30pm/3:30pm||TSN.ca/TSN App||NHL Network Replay: Jan. 1 6AM|
|Dec. 31||Russia||Canada||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN 1/4||NHL Network|
|Dec. 31||USA||Finland||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 1/5||NHL Network|
|Jan. 2||Quarterfinal #1||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN 3/5||NHL Network|
|Jan. 2||Quarterfinal #2||6:00pm/3:00pm||TSN||N/A|
|Jan. 2||Quarterfinal #3||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN 2||NHL Network|
|Jan. 2||Quarterfinal #4||10:30pm/7:30pm||TSN 3/5||NHL Network|
|Jan. 4||Semifinal #1||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN||NHL Network|
|Jan. 4||Semifinal #2||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN 1/4/5||NHL Network|
|Jan. 5||Bronze Medal||4:00pm/1:00pm||TSN||NHL Network|
|Jan. 5||Gold Medal||7:30pm/4:30pm||TSN||NHL Network|