The National Hockey League has some COVID-19 issues right now. As a result, the Chicago Blackhawks (and every other team) have had an extended Christmas vacation. The next chance to (as of right now) see the NHL back is Tuesday. However, the sport of hockey is not completely on pause right now.
The World Junior Championships start today which means all of the best hockey countries in the world will showcase their best prospects. It is a very important tournament as most of these players will be drafted to the NHL someday or have already been drafted.
Team USA won the Gold Medal in 2021 with an incredibly impressive win over Team Canada. There were some that thought the Canada team was the greatest junior squad ever assembled and Team USA took care of them in the Gold Medal Game. It would be cool to see them defend their crown but the team is wildly different this year, especially in net.
Spencer Knight was the star in 2021 but now he plays for the Florida Panthers. Dustin Wolf wasn’t half bad either. This year, Blackhawks prospect Drew Commesso is one of the netminders. He is a great young kid that Chicago selected in the second round (46th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft. They are hoping to see him wear the beloved Blackhawks sweater in between the pipes one day soon.
The Chicago Blackhawks have some interesting prospects in the WJC.
Commesso isn’t the only Blackhawks prospect involved in this tournament. He is one of four. He is joined by fellow goaltender Wyatt Kaiser, defenseman Michael Krutil, and forward Landon Slaggert. It is a group of prospects that are lesser-known so it would be cool to see them make a big impact on the tournament.
Reaching their potential in the NHL would be cool to see because it would mean that Chicago is doing a good job with their development. They aren’t winning at the NHL level which is a problem but one of the best ways to get back to winning is by hitting on more of their draft picks.
The tournament is being held in Edmonton and in Red Deer. There are a lot of interesting teams in this tournament filled with some of the best prospects in the world. Kids like Shane Wright, Connor Bedard, and Matvei Michkov are all top prospects participating for their respective countries that could be number one picks over the next few drats.
Keeping an eye on guys like that is always fun as well in case the Blackhawks find themselves in a prime draft position which is certainly possible. This is really going to be an awesome tournament to watch as fans of the sport’s big picture.