Three players to watch on every team at the 2022 World Junior Championship

Team Canada forward Shane Wright talks to media about how he's looking to lead his team throughout the World Junior tournament despite being one of the younger players on the ice.

The 2022 World Junior Championship begins at its traditional time on Boxing Day, in Edmonton and Red Deer.

Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino shares a note on three players to keep a close eye on for each of the 10 teams competing this year.

Austria

Marco Kasper, C, Rogle (SHL): Projected first round pick has had moderate success as one of the SHL’s youngest players. He moves well, has excellent vision and is highly effective around the net. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #19)

Senna Peeters, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): A veteran of three straight WJC tournaments, he attended Arizona’s camp in the fall. Has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his junior career, but has also battled inconsistency. (Undrafted 19-year-old)

Vinzenz Rohrer, RW, Ottawa 67’s (OHL): Quietly making a lot of noise in the scouting community. Work rate is undeniable and with his shiftiness and creativity, has the potential to leave a lasting impression. Left OHL Ottawa on a moderate four-game point streak. (2022 NHL draft eligible)

Canada

Shane Wright, C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL): Will be highly motivated after being cut one year ago. Hot coming in with multi-point efforts in four of five games with Kingston. Hoping to recreate the gold medal magic from the U18’s. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #1)

Owen Power, D, Michigan (NCAA): Producing offence over a point per game as a defenceman in the NCAA is unheard of. He has size, skating ability and a gold medal from the senior men’s worlds already in his pocket. Power will log big minutes for Dave Cameron. (Buffalo, first overall pick in 2021)

Connor Bedard, RW, Regina Pats (WHL): Will be fascinating to see what role he evolves into. Is likely to start down in the lineup, but has enough skill and shooting ability to climb the ladder quickly. Won’t be given the same rope here as he was in the U18’s. (2023 NHL draft eligible)

Czechia

Stanislav Svozil, D, Regina Pats (WHL): Mobile, puck-moving defender who needed time to transition to smaller ice and a less risk-taking approach to his game. Has put up 17 assists and 18 points for the Pats. (Columbus, 69th overall pick in 2021)

David Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (Extraliiga): Was named a top three player on this team one year ago. Excellent skater with offensive instincts. Shoots it a ton. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #8)

Jan Mysak, C, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL): Energetic forward with subtle speed. Has excellent hands and good finish to his game. Highly effective in the faceoff circle, operating at over 58 per cent efficiency. (Montreal, 48th overall pick in 2020)

Finland

Topi Niemela, D, Karpat (Liiga): The current top-scoring defenceman in Liiga, Niemela was named the top defenceman in this event a year ago. Returning a year older and a year wiser should make him a favourite to repeat that feat again. (Toronto, 64th overall pick in 2020)

Brad Lambert, C, JYP (Liiga): Has experienced a rocky season that has seen him slide in draft rankings. There’s no better opportunity to get back on the radar as a top pick than playing well in this event. Does he end up in WHL Saskatoon when the tournament’s done? (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #15)

Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga): Spent a good chunk of the season as Liiga’s leading scorer before being derailed for three weeks with an upper-body injury. If he can dominate the pros in Finland, he should dominate here as well. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #3)

Germany

Florian Bugl, G, Red Bull (Alps): Was impressive in limited time last year as he was forced into COVID protocols. Starting the tournament from game one should give his team a major boost in confidence. (Undrafted 19-year-old)

Florian Elias, C, Mannheim (DEL): The highest-scoring returnee from the 2021 tournament (nine points in five games) and the only returnee from Germany’s top line (Tim Stutzle and J.J. Peterka). Was named the DEL’s Rookie of the Year for the 2020-21 season. Another Mannheim product, he will have to drive play for the Germans. (Undrafted 19-year-old)

Max Glotzl, D, Kolner (DEL): Played over 20 minutes per game last year. Good sized defenceman brings some physicality and presence to the back end. Is well-rounded, with excellent skating and first-pass abilities. (Undrafted 19-year-old)

Russia

Matvei Michkov, RW, (2023) SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): Is a star wherever he goes and against whatever competition he plays against. A must-see player who is under contract in the KHL for the next four seasons. (2023 NHL draft eligible)

Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Ufa (KHL): Third straight season playing a significant number of games in the KHL. Developmental curve has accelerated immensely. Will be a top-pairing D and play in all situations for Sergei Zubov’s Russian team. (New Jersey, 20th overall pick in 2020)

Yaroslav Askarov, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): It’s rare a goalie gets a chance to play in three of these tournaments. Through the first two, we’ve seen the good and the bad. Has a chance to steal the tournament. (Nashville, 11th overall pick in 2020)

Slovakia

Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS Turku (Liiga): Has already played in a men’s world and Olympic qualifying event. Size, speed and skill are his calling cards. Too good for the U20 league in Finland, and still finding his stride in Liiga at about 13:30 of ice-time per game. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #9)

Filip Mesar, C, HK Propad (Slovakia): Super slick playmaker who is light on his skates. Can dart in and out of traffic, and has the creativity to make the impossible seem possible. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #14)

Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK (Allsvenskan): Along with Canada’s Connor Bedard and Russia’s Matvei Michkov, Dvorsky is the third name in this tournament already being considered for the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft. Lit up the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament as an underaged player with eight goals and 12 points in a silver medal effort. (2023 NHL draft eligible)

Switzerland

Lian Bichsel, D, Leksands (SHL): Big, mobile defender who uses his length and reach effectively on the defensive side. Has shown some flashes as a producer, but that will likely progress later in his career. (2022 NHL draft eligible, SN #30)

Lorenzo Canonica, C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL): A surprise in not being taken in the late rounds of the 2021 draft, Canonica has come back to have an effective season with Shawinigan, especially on the power play where he has 15 of his 27 points. He left the Cats in the midst of an eight-game point streak. (2022 NHL draft eligible)

Simon Knak, LW, HC Davos (Switzerland): Had good numbers in his year-plus with Portland in the WHL. Excellent work ethic that is noticeable on the forecheck. Has the ability to make plays and can be an effective offensive zone player. (Nashville, 179th overall pick in 2021)

Sweden

Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL): Won’t be long before he’s playing next to Moritz Seider on Detroit’s top pairing. Has been a force in the SHL and should be a dominant, all-situations minute eater for Swedish coach Tomas Monten. (Detroit, sixth overall pick in 2021)

William Eklund, C, Djurgarden (SHL): After starting the season with San Jose, was sent back to Sweden for more seasoning and for this WJC opportunity. A star in the making. (San Jose, seventh overall in 2021)

Jesper Wallstedt, G, Lulea (SHL): Has put up stellar numbers in Lulea. Is big, athletic, and has the ability to steal games on his own. Should be able to withstand the expectations and pressure that come with another excellent Swedish team. (Minnesota, 20th overall pick in 2021)

USA

Jake Sanderson, D, UND (NCAA): Looks NHL ready in his second year at North Dakota. Is effective in all facets of the game, a tough-to-play-against defender, highly effective in transition, and will add a touch of offence from the back-end. (Ottawa, fifth overall pick in 2020)

Matty Beniers, C, Michigan (NCAA): Prototypical pro from his practice habits to his off-ice work and his leadership ability. Is a speedy, gifted centre, who can make plays and finish. (Seattle, second overall pick in 2021)

Luke Hughes, D, Michigan (NCAA): Almost a point per game player as a freshman with the maize and blue. Another all-around defender who leans a bit to the offensive side. (New Jersey, fourth overall pick in 2021)

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.