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World Juniors Odds

Who wins the Ice Hockey World Junior Championships 2018?

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While the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship is months away, it’s never too early to take a look ahead at what’s to come. After USA’s thrilling Gold Medal win over Canada in this past year’s tournament, the usual suspects have the best chance at taking the IIHF’s top prize next January.

It’s no mistake that the IIHF has Canada playing the USA outside at New Era Field in Buffalo next year, as the tournament’s most deadly teams are projected to battle for Gold once again. The USA will lose more than half of their 2017 roster due to age restrictions, along with the team’s top scorer, Clayton Keller, who has turned pro with the Arizona Coyotes. Colin White, who lead the team in goals last tournament, has also turned pro, and is unlikely to participate in the 2018 edition of the tournament. That leaves the USA with very few returning players, and with only three players expected to go in the top 20 of the NHL draft, there isn’t necessarily a lot of high impact talent on the horizon for the defending champions. However, you can’t count out the heart of the Americans, and since they’re playing on home soil, you have to think they’ll turn things up a notch when the tournament starts. Thankfully for the USA, they have reliable goaltending that they can lean on. Jake Oettinger didn’t see game action during the tournament, but he and teammate Joseph Woll shared the net at Boston University, with Oettinger seeing 35 games, and Woll seeing 34. Oettinger finished the season with better numbers (0.927, 2.11) so expect him to get the nod as the starter for the Americans.

After a string of 5 golds in a row, Canada has only one gold medal since 2010. After getting so close last tournament, they will be intent on bringing home the top prize in this year’s tournament. With the USA on a down year, Canada should take group A thanks to a few returning players, and a wealth of new talent ready to get their first taste at the World Juniors. Expect defenders Kale Clauge, and Jake Bean to return to hold down the back end for Canada. While their goaltending may be a little suspect, Carter Hart has the potential to return a year older, with another year of experience under his belt. Thankfully for Canada, there are eight Canadians expected to go in the top 20 of this year’s NHL draft, and 12 in the top 25. Canada will have a wealth of scoring options available to them in (possibly) Nolan Patrick, Gabe Vilardi, Owen Tippett, Michael Rasmussen, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, along with potential returners Taylor Raddysh, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Dillon Dube. Along with this plethora of forwards, Canada also has Cale Makar, Callan Foote, and Nick Hague projected to be top 15 picks in this year’s draft to help them take home the gold in the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship.