It is not uncommon for a few talented players to be overlooked for inclusion on the roster of their country’s world juniors team, and this year is not an exception to this rule.
Quite frequently, this causes the player in question to have an exceptionally hot second half of the year in order to demonstrate to their national program that they made a silly mistake.
Not included in this group are players like Connor Bedard and Logan Cooley who have not been loaned out by their respective National Hockey League clubs. We are also not talking about the players who have chosen not to participate in the event in order to concentrate on their growth. One example of this is Joakim Kemell, a player from Finland who, after competing in two World Juniors Championships prior to this year, decided to concentrate on the American Hockey League season.
Here are the players who participated in the camp but were ultimately cut. These are the players who were offered a camp invitation but were not invited to attend. In this article, we will take a look at a few of the players that have the potential to make their national teams regret leaving them at home.
James Hagens, C, USA
During his time at the preparatory camp in Plymouth, Michigan, he appeared to be in good health, according to all accounts. It was unfortunate for Hagens that the group of players who are eligible to compete in the 2024 World Junior Championships this year is as deep as it has ever been when it comes to the competition. This club is deep at every position, and the firepower it possesses up front is almost as good as it has ever been to begin with. This is true even if they are missing Logan Cooley, who is an all-world U-20 forward.
Hagens is a player that is eligible for the National Hockey League draft in 2025 and is performing exceptionally well in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program this season. The fact that Hagens is one of the youngest players on the roster does not change the fact that he is a true spark for offensive. He plays at a high speed and makes use of his combination of knowledge and skill.
Despite the fact that Hagens would have been a good match for the American roster in virtually any position, the club decided to keep him at home because he will be eligible for a few more years after this round of competition.
Andrew Cristall, LW, Canada
Despite the fact that Cristall has been one of the most productive players in the Canadian Hockey League over the past two years, Team Canada chose to leave him at home.
When Cristall competed for Canada in the World Men’s Under-18 Championships earlier this year, he did not perform to his full potential. Additionally, he is not the most mobile or physically capable player, which is something that Hockey Canada has always prioritized when selecting its teams over other considerations. The 147 points that Cristall has scored in his last 80 games in the Western Hockey League are, without a doubt, astounding.
Especially in situations where the players are not certain of a position at the top of the lineup, Canada has a history of selecting players that are high-energy and extremely hard-working for the global junior basketball tournament. The Canadians have not been particularly fond of using players that are especially attacking in the bottom six as they have attempted to grind their way through the competition in order to reach the medal stages.
Despite the fact that Cristall’s draft stock dropped following the U-18s the previous year, Washington was able to select him in the early second round. However, his performance at the junior level has been constant. In spite of the fact that it is possible that excluding Cristall would be questionable, let us hope that Canada does not have any difficulty scoring because he would have been a significant asset in that regard.
Topias Hynninen, RW, Finland
Although it is not completely surprising that the Finns did not select a player who is eligible for the draft, the manner in which Hynninen has performed at the level of the Liiga this year ought to have caused him to be considered for a spot in the world juniors.
He is capable of playing further up in the lineup due to his offensive ability, but he also possesses the work rate and effort level that would have made him an exceptional asset in the bottom six if he had been playing there. He has been the kind of player that has the ability to move up and down the lineup.
Regardless of the level at which they compete, the Finns consistently rank among the most flexible and well-structured teams on the international soccer scene. As a player that is capable of doing whatever is asked of him, including putting up good offensive statistics at the junior level, Hynninen is the epitome of that particular style of play.
The Finnish team is a well-oiled machine, but if Hynninen is left at home, there is a possibility that a leak will occur.
Bradly Nadeau, C/LW, Canada
Nadeau, who was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round in June of this year, has gotten off to a strong start in his NCAA career, scoring 21 points in his first 14 games. He has continued to appear like one of the most fascinating prospects in the sport of hockey.
The fact that Hockey Canada did not extend an invitation to him to attend its camp appeared to be a notable omission. The inclusion of NCAA players has always been met with some degree of reluctance; nevertheless, Nadeau was enjoying a fantastic season and was only a few points behind Macklin Celebrini, who is expected to play a significant part on the Canadian team.
As was said with Cristall, the decision-makers of Hockey Canada may have believed that Nadeau could only play a top-six role. They also wanted to include guys who had more versatility, but because of this decision, they chose individuals who do not provide the same kind of offensive upside as them.
Despite the fact that Nadeau is a more dynamic dual-threat attacking player than virtually everyone else who is projected to be in their bottom six, Canada is seeking for individuals who can help them grind out games rather than win them by scoring that extra goal.
Theo Lindstein, LHD, Sweden
It was chosen by Sweden to enter the competition with only two left-handed defenders on their team before they competed. It was a bit of a mystery why Theo Lindstein was not included in the list. The fact that Lindstein has made what is considered to be his best hockey performance while wearing the Tre Kronor on his chest makes the decision even more problematic.
Over the course of the past year and a half, Lindstein has developed into a defender who is capable of doing what needs to be done. His defensive game has improved, and he has demonstrated an affinity for making the right play at the right moment. However, his offensive game has not yet caught up to the professional level for Brynas in the Allsvenskan.
He would have been a good fit for Sweden as a defender in the second or third pair of the defensive lineup. The player who was selected in the first round by the St. Louis Blues will instead continue to compete against men in the second division of Swedish hockey.