By the numbers: Looking at Canada’s 2021 world juniors squad

Gene Principe and Sam Cosentino discuss the depth on Team Canada’s world junior roster and how it should help them as the try to bring home another gold.

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s just about time for the world juniors. The 2021 tournament is taking place in Edmonton, following the lead of the NHL’s quarantined bubble set-up there.

The stories of this edition of the much-anticipated tournament have yet to play out, but here are some of the notable numbers behind Team Canada:

1: Kirby Dach of the Chicago Blackhawks is the lone NHLer on this roster. This is pretty rare, as most clubs opted not to loan their tournament-eligible players to the national squad — injury risk, overlap with training camp, NHL development, etc. all factor into these decisions — but Dach will have the chance to lead Canada to gold after not being loaned by the franchise last year while in the midst of a stellar rookie campaign with Chicago. As Edmontonians will remember, he also shone during the playoffs last year.

3: Or rather, we should say the big three — that’s Kirby Dach, Connor McMichael and Dylan Cozens, who Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino believes will make up a stacked Team Canada’s No. 1 line.

5: Goals scored by returning member Connor McMichael at the 2020 world juniors, which ranked him second in the category on Team Canada behind Barrett Hayton. He’s projected to have a productive tournament once again.

5: Number of players whose NHL rights are owned by Canadian NHL clubs. Jakob Pelletier and Connor Zary are Calgary Flames prospects, Dylan Holloway was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers, Kaiden Guhle belongs to the Montreal Canadiens, and Cole Perfetti is in the Winnipeg Jets’ system.

6: Number of bronze medals claimed by Canada at the tournament over the years (1974, 1978, 1983, 2000, 2001, 2012).

6: The 2021 roster includes six returnees. Forwards Quinton Byfield, Dylan Cozens, Connor McMichael and Dawson Mercer and defencemen Bowen Byram and Jamie Drysdale all won gold with Canada at the 2020 tournament.

7: As Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino pointed out, there are seven players on this year’s roster who earned themselves camp invites last year but didn’t quite make the cut (forwards Connor Zary, Dylan Holloway, Cole Perfetti, Alex Newhook and Peyton Krebs, and defencemen Thomas Harley and Braden Schneider). They get their shot this year.

9: Points tallied by Dylan Cozens (2G, 7A) at last year’s world juniors, good for third on Team Canada (behind Barrett Hayton and Alexis Lafreniere) and seventh tournament-wide.

9: Representing Canada this year are players from coast to coast to coast, from nine different provinces and territories. Ontario contributes the largest number of players (seven), followed by Alberta (five) and Saskatchewan (three). British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador have two players each, with one player representing each of Yukon Territory, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Defenceman Thomas Harley was actually born in the U.S., but plays in and represents Canada on the international stage.

11: Number of silver medals won by Canada at this tournament — most recently in 2017 (1975, 1976, 1977, 1986, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2017).

12: Canada has missed the podium 12 times, including four times in the past decade. The 2019 tournament, held in Victoria, was the first time Canada finished off of the podium while playing on Canadian ice.

18: Number of gold medals won by Canada, who are the reigning champs, over the years at the tournament — including two golds in the past three years (1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2020). Canada leads all nations in gold medals at this tournament.

20: Number of first-round draft selections from the past two drafts on this roster. Three of those first-rounders were top-five picks (Quinton Byfield, second overall to Kings, 2020; Kirby Dach, third overall to Blackhawks, 2019; Bowen Byram, fourth overall to Avalanche, 2019) and seven were top-10. Just two skaters were taken outside the first round: defencemen Kaedan Korczak (2019 Round 2, 41st overall to Vegas) and Jordan Spence (2019 Round 4, 95th overall to L.A.). Both drafted goalies were taken this year — Dylan Garand by the Rangers (fourth round, 103rd overall) and Devon Levi to Florida (seventh round, 212nd overall).

21: The majority of players (21, to be exact) on this year’s national junior team play in the CHL — nine in the WHL, eight in the OHL, and four in the QMJHL. Three others are currently playing for NCAA programs, while Kirby Dach is the lone entry straight out of the NHL.

24: Almost all players on the roster have been drafted by NHL clubs. Over the past two drafts, 24 players on this roster have been selected. That leaves just one: undrafted 19-year-old goalie Taylor Gauthier, who could be called in 2021.

2001: Connor McMichael is the oldest player on the team, born Jan. 15, 2001. The majority of the players (20) on Team Canada were born in 2001.

2002: Quinton Byfield is the youngest player on the squad, born Aug. 19, 2002. He was the youngest player named to Team Canada last year, too. He’s one of five 2002-born players on the team. (Feel old yet?)

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