With the calendar set to turn to 2020, we close the book on another decade
of the IIHF World Junior Championship.
Canada’s National Junior Team added to its record-setting medal haul over
the last 10 years, winning gold in 2015 and 2018 in addition to silver
medals in 2010, 2011 and 2017, and bronze in 2012.
But let’s focus on the individual efforts. Which Canadians performed the
best during the 2010s to earn a place on the All-Decade Team?
One goaltender, two defencemen, three forwards … away we go.
G – Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett Silvertips, WHL)
2018 – 6 GP, 1.81 GAA, .930 SV%, 5-1 (gold medal)
2017 – 4 GP, 2.38 GAA, .906 SV%, 3-1 (silver medal)
Hart was pretty darn good in 2017, when he helped Canada get to a shootout
in the gold medal game, but he was downright unbeatable a year later. The
2018 version of Hart was lights-out from the first drop of the puck on
Boxing Day – he allowed two goals or less in five of six starts, led the
tournament in goals-against average (1.81) and save percentage (.930), and
capped his WJC career with his best performance, a 31-save effort in a gold
medal game win over Sweden.
D – Thomas Chabot (Saint-Marie-de-Beauce, Que./Saint John Sea Dogs,
2017 (A) – 7GP 4G 6A 10P (silver medal / MVP / Top Defenceman / All-Star
2016 – 5GP 0G 3A 3P (sixth place)
After getting his feet wet in 2016, contributing three assists in five
games, Chabot burst onto the international scene in Toronto and Montreal.
His hardware haul included a silver medal, Most Valuable Player (the first
blue-liner to earn the award) and Top Defenceman honours, and a place on
the Media All-Star Team. Chabot posted points in all seven games and had
three multi-point efforts, and his 10 points rank as the second-highest
total ever by a Canadian defenceman.
D – Ryan Ellis (Freelton, Ont./Windsor Spitfires, OHL)
2011 (C) – 7GP 3G 7A 10P (silver medal / Top Defenceman / All-Star Team)
2010 (A) – 6GP 1G 7A 8P (silver medal)
After winning gold in 2009, Ellis used the early years of the decade to
craft arguably the greatest WJC career ever by a Canadian defenceman. He
recorded eight points in 2010 before putting up 10 while wearing the ‘C’
and getting the nod as Top Defenceman in 2011, highlighted by a
one-goal-three-assist performance in a win over the Czech Republic. Ellis
is the highest-scoring Canadian defenceman in WJC history (5-20—25), and
his 20 assists stand alone atop the all-time list.
F – Jordan Eberle (Regina, Sask./Regina Pats, WHL)
2010 (A) – 6GP 8G 5A 13P (silver medal / MVP / Top Forward / All-Star Team)
His last-second heroics in 2009 tend to be what fans remember most, but
Eberle was just as good – if not better – a year later. He rewrote the
record book in Saskatchewan, finishing with eight goals (including two in
the last three minutes to force overtime in the gold medal game) and 13
points in a Most Valuable Player-worthy performance. Eberle finished his
WJC career as Canada’s all-time leading goal scorer (14) and ranks second
in points (14-12—26), trailing only Eric Lindros.
F – Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Erie Otters, OHL)
2015 – 7GP 3G 8A 11P (gold medal / All-Star Team)
2014 – 7GP 1G 3A 4P (fourth place)
It’s hard to pick just one among the 2014-15 group (Domi, Petan, Reinhart,
etc.), but McDavid – just the sixth 16-year-old to play for Canada in 2014
– went where only names like Gretzky and Lindros had gone before, hitting
double-digits in points before he turned 18. He saved his best for the
medal round in 2015, posting three points in a quarter-final win over
Denmark and three more in a semifinal win over Slovakia before scoring in
the gold medal game victory over Russia.
F – Brayden Schenn (Saskatoon, Sask./Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL)
2011 (A) – 7GP 8G 10A 18P (silver medal / MVP / Top Forward / All-Star
2010 – 6GP 2G 6A 8P (silver medal)
Few start-to-finish performances in Canadian WJC history can match what
Schenn did in 2011. After an eight-point effort in 2010, Schenn simply
dominated in Buffalo. The highlights? At least two points in six of seven
games, back-to-back five-point outings against the Czechs and Norwegians,
the third four-goal game by a Canadian, a record-tying 18 points (8-10—18),
and Most Valuable Player and Top Forward honours. When it was over, Schenn
had equalled Eberle with 26 career points, second-most ever.