2021 World Junior Championship predictions

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The winner of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be from North America, according to three NHL.com writers.

NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman and LNH.com staff writer Guillaume Lepage predict Canada will win the tournament for the second straight year, while NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale believes the United States will win it for the first time since 2017.

Kimelman says Canada will defeat Russia in a repeat of the championship game from the 2020 WJC, while Lepage believes Canada will win against the United States in the final. Morreale predicts the United States will defeat Canada to win the tournament.

Each writer also made his picks for best goalie, best forward, best defenseman and top 2021 NHL Draft prospect.

The 2021 WJC starts Friday and runs through Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. No fans will be in attendance and the tournament will be played in a secure zone similar to what the NHL used for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

The 10 teams will play in two groups during the preliminary round, which runs through Dec. 31. Group A consists of Canada, Finland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Germany. Group B includes Russia, the United States, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Austria.

The top four finishers in each group will play in the quarterfinals Jan. 2. The semifinals are Jan. 4, and the championship and third-place games are Jan. 5.

All games will be broadcast on NHL Network in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada.

 

Kimelman predictions

Group A winner: Canada

Group B winner: Russia

Champion: Canada

Second: Russia

Third: United States

Surprise star: Brad Lambert, F, Finland

Best goalie: Iaroslav Askarov, Russia

Best defenseman: Bowen Byram, Canada

Best forward: Kirby Dach, Canada

Top 2021 NHL Draft eligible player: Matthew Beniers, F, United States

 

Morreale predictions

Group A winner: Canada

Group B winner: Russia

Champion: United States

Second: Canada

Third: Sweden

Surprise star: Philip Tomasino, F, Canada

Best goalie: Spencer Knight, United States

Best defenseman: Philip Broberg, Sweden

Best forward: Anton Lundell, Finland

Top 2021 NHL Draft eligible player: Matthew Beniers, F, United States

 

Lepage predictions

Group A winner: Canada

Group B winner: Russia

Champion: Canada

Second: United States

Third: Russia

Surprise star: Jakob Pelletier, F, Canada

Best goalie: Spencer Knight, United States

Best defenseman: Bowen Byram, Canada

Best forward: Dylan Cozens, Canada

Top 2021 NHL Draft eligible player: Matthew Beniers, F, United States

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