Expectations are very high for Team Canada going into the 2013 World Junior Championship. Their roster is littered with top-tier prospects and others that, if not for the lockout, would probably be busy playing in the NHL.
Still, the United States has a strong squad that should play hard against Canada.
“The Americans? Big. Really big. I couldn’t believe how big they are looking at the roster,” said Team Canada’s head scout Kevin Prendergast, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
“It’s going. From our standpoint, we’re going to have to turn the cheek a few times against them, but overall I think our skill is better than their skill.”
With guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Nathan MacKinnon leading the charge, Canada has no shortage of firepower, but America will counter with a superb defense.
“I look at our back end as a whole; I think there’s a lot of guys that can fit that mold,” Team USA coach Phil Housley said. “Certainly Grzelcyk, Gostisbehere and [Mike] Reilly, they have that uncanny ability to jump up in the play.”
America’s defense will also include two former first-round picks in Jacob Trouba and Connor Murphy, as well as Seth Jones, who should go very early in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Team USA and Canada will face each other on Dec. 30.