F (OT)

Who will win the World Junior Championships MVP honour?

Published August 21, 2022 at 0:17

Canada and Finland duke it out with a Gold Medal on the line, and many players standout as their teams MVP, but who will be name tournament MVP?

With the MVP conversation seemingly narrowed down to the final two teams - the eventual gold and silver medallists respectively, Canada and Finland. Who stands out on both rosters?

For the Canadians, defenseman - Olen Zellweger, forward - Mason McTavish and goaltender - Dylan Garand have been leaned on heavily for the Canadians, and have answered the bell.

McTavish - The Anaheim Ducks prospect and captain of the Canadian's World Juniors team, McTavish has dominated the tournament in all three zones throughout the tournament. Through six games and one period, McTavish has scored eight goals, eight assists for 16 points, while boasting a +12 plus/minus. McTavish has shown in spades the elite skillset he possesses, which prompted the Ducks to select him with the third overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Zellweger - Fellow Ducks prospect Olen Zellweger has been an enigma for Canada, his dynamic smooth skating, along with a brilliant transitional game and adept offensive skills have been crucial to his squads success. The Everett Silvertips product has done it all for Canada throughout the tournament, providing a steady pillar on the blueline for head coach Dave Cameron. Zellweger has two goals, eight assists for 10 points, through six (and one period of the gold medal game) tournament games.

Garand - Dylan Garand has been Canada's number one goaltender from the outset of the tournament, and his play has proven Dave Cameron right in giving him the confidence to be the starter. Garand was selected 103 overall by the New York Rangers, in the 2020 NHL Draft, he played his junior in the WHL, with the Kamloops Blazers. Through five games in the World Junior's tournament, Garand has posted a five, zero and zero record, with a 2.00 goals/against average, along with a .923 save percentage.

For Finland, head coach Antti Pennanen has leaned heavily on his number one defenseman Topi Niemela, number one centre Aatu Raty and captain Roni Hirvonen. The trio have provided steady, responsibe and elite-level all-around play throughout the tournament.

Niemela - Topi Niemela is one of the Toronto Maple Leafs players of the future, an undersized righthanded defenceman, who provides the Finns with a powerplay quarterback and steady number one defenseman. The Leafs selected Niemela with the 64 overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft. The Finnish defender has scored zero goals, five assists for five points through five tournament games and one period.

Aatu Raty - At the tournament in December, Raty was left off the Finnish World Junior's team, fast forward to August, and Raty has been his squads number one centre, providing a pillar to the team's top offensive unit. Raty is a New York Islanders prospect, who was selected with the 52 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Raty has played in each of Finlands's five games, scoring three goals, seven assists for 10 points.

Hirvonen - Roni Hirvonen is a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, selected 59 overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. Hirvonen rounds out the Finnish top trio of Raty, himself and 2022 NHL Draft prospect for the Nashville Predators - Joakim Kemell. The Finnish captain has three goals, four assists for seven points through five tournament games.

Tune-in to the Gold Medal game, currently in progress on TSN from Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
Latest 10 stories