The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled for Dec. 25-Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. To celebrate the tournament, which was first contested in 1974, NHL.com has compiled an all-time starting lineup for some of the participating countries based solely on the players’ performances at the World Juniors. Today, we look at the ideal three forwards, two defensemen and goalie to start a game for Canada.
Tournaments: 1990, 1991, 1992
Statistics: 21 games, 12-19-31
Lindros was named the best forward at the 1991 WJC after scoring 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in seven games and helping Canada win its second straight championship. He’s tied with Wayne Gretzky for the third in points by a Canada player in a single WJC (18, Dale McCourt, 1977 and Brayden Schenn, 2011), and tied for the second-most assists (Jason Allison, 12, 1995). He also helped Canada win the 1990 tournament, scoring four goals in seven games, and led Canada in 1992 with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in seven games. Lindros is Canada’s all-time leading scorer at the WJC and is tied for 10th among all players. He played 13 NHL seasons with four teams.
Tournaments: 2009, 2010
Statistics: 12 games, 14-12-26
Eberle is best remembered for scoring the game-tying goal against Russia with 5.4 seconds left in the 2009 semifinals, then scoring the shootout winner to help Canada win its fifth straight WJC championship. He was even better in 2010, tying for the tournament lead with eight goals and winning the most valuable player and best forward award as Canada finished second. Eberle is with tied with Schenn for second in scoring all-time for Canada at the WJC. The New York Islanders right wing is entering his 11th season in the NHL.
Statistics: 6 games, 8-9-17
Gretzky was 16 years old when he led the tournament in scoring and was named the best forward as Canada finished third. It was the only time Gretzky played in the World Juniors. The center played 20 NHL seasons with four teams and is the NHL all-time leading scorer with 2,857 points (894 goals, 1,963 assists) in 1,487 games.
Brayden Schenn: 13 games (2010, 2011) 10-16-26; John Tavares: 13 games (2008, 2009), 12-8-20; Patrice Bergeron: 6 games (2005), 5-8-13
Tournaments: 2009, 2010, 2011
Statistics: 19 games, 5-20-25
Ellis was named the best defenseman at the 2011 WJC after he led defensemen with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games. He was part of Canada’s championship team in 2009 and helped it finish second in 2010 and 2011. Ellis is Canada’s all-time leader in points among defensemen at the World Juniors. He is entering his 11th season in the NHL with the Nashville Predators.
Tournaments: 2009, 2010
Statistics: 12 games, 4-11-15
Pietrangelo was named the best defenseman at the 2010 WJC after Canada finished second, and he led the position in goals (three), assists (nine) and points (12). The 12 points tied for the most scored by a Canada defenseman at the WJC (Bryan McCabe, 1995). Pietrangelo scored three points (one goal, two assists) in six games to help Canada finish first at the 2009 WJC. He will play for the Vegas Golden Knights this season, his 13th in the NHL.
Bryan McCabe: 14 games (1994, 1995), 3-9-12; Thomas Chabot: 12 games (2016, 2017), 4-9-13
Statistics: 6 games, 6-0-0, 1.14 GAA, .961 save percentage
Price was dominant in leading Canada to the 2007 championship, winning the tournament MVP and the best goalie award. His .961 save percentage is the best for a Canada goalie at the World Juniors, and his 1.14 goals-against average is second (Justin Pogge, 1.00, 2006). Price is entering his 14th in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens.
Marc-Andre Fleury: 10 games (2003, 2004), 8-2-0, 1.70 GAA, .923 save percentage