CGD: A New Hope (Canada vs. Russia)

Jeff Veillette
December 26 2016 01:26PM

It's the most wonderful time of year! The World Juniors are back, and with them, we can all unite in arguing with each other about which teenagers carry the best passports. For Canada, the land that occupies most of our hearts, that two-week journey begins with their game against the Russians at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.

Team Canada

Name Team POS Hand Age HT WT DRAFT
Carter Hart Everett (WHL) G L 18 6'1" 170 Phi 2016
Connor Ingram Kamloops (WHL) G L 19 6'1" 195 Tam 2016
Jake Bean Calgary (WHL) D L 18 6'1" 170 Car 2016
Thomas Chabot Saint John (QMJHL) D L 19 6'2" 188 Ott 2015
Kale Clague Brandon (WHL) D L 18 6'0" 177 LA 2016
Dante Fabbro Boston University (NCAA) D R 18 6'1" 190 Nsh 2016
Noah Juulsen Everett (WHL) D R 19 6'2" 185 Mtl 2015
Jeremy Lauzon Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) D L 19 6'2" 207 Bos 2015
Philippe Myers Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) D L 19 6'4" 206 Phi 2015
Mathew Barzal Seattle (WHL) F R 19 6'0" 187 NYI 2015
Anthony Cirelli Oshawa (OHL) F L 19 6'0" 165 Tam 2015
Dillon Dube Kelowna (WHL) F L 18 5'10" 180 Cgy 2016
Pierre-Luc Dubois Cape Breton (QMJHL) F L 18 6'3" 202 Clb 2016
Julien Gauthier Val d'Or (QMJHL) F R 19 6'4" 224 Car 2016
Mathieu Joseph Saint John (QMJHL) F L 19 6'1" 171 Tam 2015
Tyson Jost North Dakota (NCAA) F L 18 6'0" 190 Col 2016
Michael McLeod Mississauga (OHL) F R 18 6'2" 187 NJ 2016
Taylor Raddysh Erie (OHL) F R 18 6'2" 209 Tam 2016
Nicolas Roy Chicoutimi (QMJHL) F R 19 6'4" 202 Car 2015
Blake Speers Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) F R 19 6'0" 184 NJ 2015
Mitchell Stephens Saginaw (OHL) F R 19 6'0" 195 Tam 2015
Dylan Strome Erie (OHL) F L 19 6'3" 194 Ari 2015

Roster courtesy of TSN.ca. Lines yet to be released.

Canada, unsurprisingly, doesn't really have draft-eligible talent for you to salivate over. But they're stacked with some of the highest profile names in the prospect world; which should make them tough to beat. Dylan Strome (Arizona) and Pierre-Luc Dubois (Columbus) are probably the biggest names to watch.

Team Russia

Name Team POS Hand Age HT WT Draft
Anton Krasotkin Yaroslavl 2 (RUS-JR) G L 19 6'0 179 2017
Ilya Samsonov Magnitogorsk (RUS) G L 19 6'3 205 Was 2015
Vladislav Sukhachyov Chelmet (RUS) G L 18 5'10 181 2017
Artyom Chymkhov CSKA (RUS D L 19 6'2 198 2017
Grigoriy Dronov Magnitogorsk (RUS) D L 18 6'2 207 2017
Vadim Kudakov Cherepovets (RUS) D L 19 6'1 179 2017
Yegor Rykov St. Petersburg (RUS) D L 19 6'2 216 Njd 2016
Mikhail Sergachev Windsor (OHL) D L 18 6'3 216 Mtl 2016
Mikhail Sidorov Kazan (RUS) D R 19 6'0 214 2017
Artyom Volkov Balashikha 2 (RUS-2) D L 19 6'1 183 2017
Yegor Voronkov Chekhov (RUS) D L 19 6'0 183 2017
Sergey Zborovskiy Regina (WHL) D R 19 6'4 194 NYR 2015
Denis Alexeyev Ryazan (RUS-2) F R 19 6'0 183 2017
Kirill Belayev Khanty-Mansiysk 2 (RUS-JR) F L 19 6'2 218 2017
Denis Guryanov Texas (AHL) F L 19 6'3 201 Dal 2015
Kirill Kaprizov Ufa (RUS) F L 19 5'10 192 Min 2015
Pavel Karnaukhov CSKA (RUS F L 19 6'3 205 Cal 2015
Danila Kvartalnov CSKA (RUS F L 19 6'1 183 2017
Alexandr Polunin Yaroslavl (RUS) F R 19 5'9 172 2017
German Rubtsov Podolsk (RUS) F L 18 6'0 190 Phi 2016
Yakov Trenin Gatineau (QMJHL) F L 19 6'2 205 Nas 2015
Kirill Urakov Nizhny Novgorod (RUS) F L 18 5'11 163 2017
Mikhail Vorobyov Ufa (RUS) F L 19 6'2 207 Phi 2015
Danil Yurtaikin Ryazan (RUS-2) F R 19 5'11 170 2017

Roster courtesy of TSN.ca. Lines yet to be released.

On the other hand, the Russians are going to be a really interesting team full of players who are ripe for the picking this year. Outside of their stacked goaltending platoon, a player I'd recommend keeping an eye on is Alexander Polunin; the 19-year-old wasn't drafted this year, but is having another decent season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. To be a regular contributor in the second best men's league int he world as a 5'9 teenager is pretty impressive, so it'll be interesting to see what he does this year against players his own age. Last year, he had three goals in 7 games.

Throwback Moments

The last time the two countries faced off in this tournament in Toronto was during the 2015 Gold Medal Game. Canada, of course, came out victorious.

Perhaps their most famous matchup of this generation, though, was a semifinal game. Who could forget 2009? Say 5.4 seconds to any Canadian hockey fan and they'll tell you their vantage point.

What To Look Out For 

We all know how Canada/Russia goes. Thre's an insane amount of passion involved, especially when one team has home ice. This time, Russia will be looking to upset their biggest hockey rivals in their own building, while Canada looks to not be dealt an embarrassing situation like that.

Combined with the fact that this will be the opening game of the tournament for both, and with kids on both sides looking to make an immediate impression, just about anything can happen.

Ultimately, though, I'm going to lean towards the Canadians, barring a lights-out performance from Samsonov in goal. This isn't their best team ever, but the firepower is definitely there. Puck drop is at 8:00 PM in Toronto (7:00 in Winnipeg, 6:00 in Alberta, 5:00 in Vancouver), and you can catch the game on TSN.

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Managing Editor of Hockey Content at the Nation Network. Just here so I'll get the opposite of fined. If you'd like to collaborate or simply have a question, email me at jeff@veillette.me