Future Jackets Impressing at World Juniors

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 10: Kent Johnson #13 of Canada controls the puck against Latvia during the Group A game of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on August 10, 2022 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Lawrence Scott/Getty Images)

The 2022 World Junior Championships are well under way in Edmonton, and all four Blue Jacket prospects are off to a great start for their respective countries. Team Czechia, with three Blue Jacket representatives, won a hard-fought matchup over Slovakia, 5-4 on Tuesday, and Kent Johnson and Team Canada got the job done against Latvia – though the 5-2 score is likely a lot closer than the Canadians might have expected.

Team Czechia was led in ice time by its two alternate captains, both Blue Jacket prospects: Stanislav Svozil (21:45) had four shots on goal, added an assist on the eventual game winning goal; and finished with a +1 rating. David Jiricek finished just behind Svozil in ice time (21:37) and did not register a point. But, his six shots on goal were the second most for team Czechia, and he finished the game with a +2 rating.

Martin Rysavy kicked off the scoring for the Czechs with an easy tap-in goal in the first period. Rysavy would finish the night with two shots on goal and a -1 rating, while playing 16:19. Monsters prospect Pavel Cajan was not dressed for Czechia, and looks to be the team’s third goaltender for this tournament.

Kent Johnson did not find the score sheet in Canada’s opener against Latvia, but a case could be made for him as the second best player on the ice for either club. Connor Bedard was buzzing around and generating offense every time he was near the puck; but Johnson was dangerous as well, using patience and creating several good looks for his linemates. He finished the night with two shots on goal in 16:29 played; but it was his nifty move in the first period that set CBJ Twitter into a frenzy:

The tournament continues today as Czechia faces Finland in what should be a very exciting matchup. Puck drops for that game at 2:00ET. Next, Canada faces Slovakia at 6:00ET, a team that I think could give them fits. You can catch both games and all of the action on NHL Network. If you can tune in, I highly recommend it – this is a fun tournament to watch.