The 2022 IIHF World Juniors were initially scheduled in December but after just a handful of games were played, the tournament was postponed due to a serious COVID-19 outbreak. Now, it finally restarts on Tuesday, August 9th, and runs through August 20th. Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta will be the scene for every single game. Canada, which has won a tournament-best 18 titles, is a +150 favorite to come out victorious once again. However, they were beaten in last year’s final by the United States, who have the third-best odds at +400. Nestled between the Canadians and Americans at +350 is Finland. Russia and Belarus of course were suspended indefinitely due to their attacks on Ukraine. Keep reading for the World Juniors odds.
2022 World Juniors Odds
Can Canada Get it Done?
For Canada, it’s basically gold or bust. They’re the most successful team in the history of this tournament and have won twice in the last five years and only missed the final once during that span. Before the festivities shut down back in December of last year, the Canucks were looking very dominant and they’ll have a talented group on the ice again, even though it’ll feature some different names from a number of months ago following the NHL Draft. Conor Bedard is the headliner on this roster, a 17-year-old center who plays in the WHL for the Regina Pats. He scored 51 goals and supplied 49 assists last season, absolutely lighting the league on fire. Bedard is also an early favorite to go first overall in the 2023 draft. He was actually the 13th forward on their initial squad before the COVID-19 outbreak, but with many players deciding to focus on their jump to the pro level, Bedard is now a first-liner and arguably the best player for Canada. He’s a big reason this team is expected to take home gold in the World Juniors odds.
Among the players they lost are Kaiden Guhle and Owen Power, their top-two defencemen. But, Riley Kidney and Joshua Roy are intriguing additions to the Canadians. Even though there is quite the turnover, Canada is deservingly a favorite. In the 2021 edition of the World Juniors, their only loss came in the gold medal game after outscoring their opponents by 35 goals.
Finland is no Joke
Unlike Canada, Finland will essentially have the same roster as December. They’re historically an elite team in the World Juniors too, winning on six different occasions. But, the Fins haven’t taken home gold since 2019. Finland has two players in particular who could do some serious damage in Brad Lambert and Joakim Kemell, both first-round picks. They have the potential to top the leaderboards in scoring. Forward Aatu Räty is also available after missing the December tournament with COVID-19. He’ll bring a big boost to the Finland offense as well. Antti Pennanen’s group certainly boasts some top-tier talent and should be a handful for anyone. It’s understandable why the Finnish are +350 in the World Juniors odds.
United States is Solid
The US is of course the reigning champions and probably the only team that could give Canada a run for their money when it comes to the gold medal. But, this roster isn’t as talented as the 2021 one. All three of their goalies, who are all draft-eligible, aren’t even close to former starter Spencer Knight. He now occupies the net for the Florida Panthers. There is no shortage of promising players for the Americans, though. Among them are Brett Berard, Logan Cooley, Landon Slaggert, and Brock Faber. They’re all NHL prospects. Cooley is one of the most exciting youngsters. The University of Minnesota freshman scored 27 goals and tallied 48 assists in 51 games for the USA Developmental Program last season. He’s got great stick-handling skills and will surely be relied upon to create some havoc for the US in the tournament in Edmonton. There’s definitely a good chance we see the Americans back in the final against Canada again, the most classic matchup in international hockey.
To be honest, outside of these three teams, I don’t see anyone else having much of a shot at winning gold. And while Canada is going to have to adapt with a new-look roster, they’re still too good to bet against with such a special group of players. I do think they’ll win it all on home soil. The Canucks are a great pick in the World Juniors odds.
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