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Lightning Round: World Juniors update

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Gage Goncalves didn’t make the final roster

2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, final: Canada 4 - 3 Russia Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

The 2021 World Junior Championship is starting in less than two weeks and some teams have already announced their final rosters for the tournament. The Russian team was one of the first teams who made an announcement. As was expected, Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Maxim Groshev has made the team. After being traded from Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk to SKA St. Petersburg in November, the young Russian forward has lost some ice time in the KHL and even was sent to the minor leagues from time to time. However he’s still expected to fill a middle-six role on the Russian National team.

Hockey Canada also announced their roster for the World Juniors yesterday. Unfortunately, Gage Goncalves didn't survive the last cuts and won’t participate in the tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer. It was highly unlikely from the beginning that he would be able to fight for a roster spot against several first-rounders at the selection camp. But still it was a great opportunity for him to practice alongside future NHL stars for a month.

Sweden is also expected to announce their roster tonight. Yesterday they announced a new coaching staff for their teams, after the original staff tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and weren’t allowed to travel to Canada. Joel Ronnmark replaced Tomas Monten as the head coach for the team. Ronnmark is the head coach of the Vaxjo Lakers junior team and has experience coaching Sweden’s U18 teams in his career. Previously he was an assistant coach to Tomas Monten.

Besides the coaching staff, four Sweden players were also exposed to the virus and won’t participate at the World Juniors – William Eklund, Karl Henriksson, William Wallinder and Albin Grewe. As some point, the Sweden team was under danger of withdrawing from the tournament, after a week of tests and dialogues with the IIHF, the remaining part of the team was allowed to go to Canada. The Lightning goalie prospect Hugo Alnefelt is expected to make the final roster.

Besides Groshev and Alnefelt, the Lightning don’t have other representatives at the World Juniors this year. Maxim Cajkovic, who was recently excluded from Slovak training camp for injuring his teammate Samuel Krajc, has shared a statement regarding the situation and apologised for his behaviour.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected other teams: Germany lost two players who tested positive this week, including Chicago Blackhawks first round selection Lukas Reichel.

The Swiss team couldn’t count on three players due to positive COVID-19 tests as well.

All 10 teams participating in the tournament need to report to Edmonton on Sunday. The pre-tournament games will start next weekend.

Lightning Links

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Lightning are considering trading for Henrik Zetterberg’s LTIR with Tyler Johnson going the other way. Zetterberg has a $6,083,333 cap hit for one more year, however it will cost less after moving to injury reserve.

The Orlando Solar Bears presented a roster for the upcoming season.

Mitchell Stephens landed at the sixth place at our Top 25 Under 25 list [Raw Charge]

Stephens started the 2019-20 season in Syracuse as their number two center behind free agent pick up Chris Mueller. Injuries had plagued him in the previous season and the number one goal for him last season was to stay healthy and make up for lost time. He probably never imagined he’d be lifting the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.

Another photo of the Lightning players hanging out with the Stanley Cup.

Around the Hockey

The Detroit Red Wings traded Dmytro Timashov’s rights to the New York Islanders in exchange for future considerations. The Red Wings acquired Timashov at the last season’s Trade Deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Apparently the NHL is already considering changes to their division realignment plan. According to a report, the Dallas Stars will replace the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division, joining the Carolina Hurricanes, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Detroit Red Wings, the Florida Panthers, the Nashville Predators, and their Stanley Cup Final opponents - the Tampa Bay Lightning.