The 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is set to open up on Dec.26 in Edmonton, and Red Deer, Alberta. The Winnipeg Jets are slated to have four prospects play at what is considered to be the biggest tournament in hockey. Sweden’s Daniel Torgersson gets his first crack at the World Juniors stage. Nikita Chibrikov will be representing Team Russia, Chaz Lucius will dawn the American jersey, and Cole Perfetti makes his return to Team Canada, where he looks to have another crack at a Gold medal.
Daniel Torgersson – Team Sweden
The big-bodied Swedish winger was selected 40th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft and has since been making waves in the Swedish hockey system. Torgersson currently plays for AIK (on loan) in the HockeyAllsvenskan league and has picked up five points in 20 games. He will provide the Swedes with depth down the wing and will likely be a go-to penalty-killer. This will not be his first international experience either, in 2018-19 he represented Sweden at the under-17 World Hockey Championships where he played a very limited role but had one assist in six games.
He also competed in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he was named assistant captain and would register three points (two goals, one assist) in five games. While Torgersson’s role will once again be limited, he will surely be a great addition to the Swedes roster, adding in that physical presence.
Nikita Chibrikov – Team Russia
Chibrikov was selected 50th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft and has since been playing for SKA-Neva St. Petersburg in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL) where he has accumulated 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 15 games. While he is off to a good start in Russia, it was no surprise to see him selected to represent Russia at the World Juniors. Back in April, he captained Russia at the Under-18 World Junior Championships and dominated the tournament with 13 points in seven games. He played a major role for the Russians and captured a silver medal. He displayed an elite level of speed and skill that showed off his ability to be an elusive winger.
He joins a group of forwards on Russia that will be headlined by 2023 top-prospect Matvei Michkov, as well as Marat Khustnutdinov, Fyodor Svechkov, and 2022 top-prospect Danila Yurov. A handful of these players are teammates from the under-18 squad. Chribrikov will be able to fulfill a top-six role within this squad and will likely see a fair share of power-play minutes. With his exceptional puck control and offensive awareness, the Russians’ will take full of advantage and utilize him in all zones necessary.
Chaz Lucius – Team USA
Minnesota Golden Gophers star Chaz Lucius looks to dawn the Americans jersey at the World Juniors for the first time. Lucius was selected 18th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft and has since etched his name as one of the top Jets’ prospects heading into the future. He possesses an accurate shot that is touched with power and precision. He is deceptive and is able to use his vision to find open teammates. He currently has eight points (five goals, three assists) in 12 games with the Golden Gophers of the NCAA. This will not be his first time on the international stage either, he competed in the 2019-20 under-17 World Hockey Championships and put up an impressive 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in six games. He went on to lead the entire tournament in the goal-scoring department.
Lucius joins an elite level of talent on the Americans roster this year. This is a team that won Gold last year and is looking to repeat. He will be accompanied by Seattle Kraken’s 2nd overall pick Matty Beniers, as well as Luke Hughes, Red Savage, Sasha Pastujov, Matthew Knies, and Matt Coronato to name a few. These are all kids who have grown up in the United States National Development Program (USNTDP) and have chemistry. Lucius will be able to use his high-octane offensive style of play to not only be a threat with the puck but also be able to provide problem-solving skills. He is an elite goal-scoring weapon who will be utilized in all situations as the Americans look to go for back-to-back golds.
Cole Perfetti – Team Canada
Arguably the most exciting prospect in the Jets system, Cole Perfetti is once again joining the Canadians on the grandest stage of them all. He was a part of the group that suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Trevor Zegras and the Americans last year. The Whitby, Ontario, product boasted six points (two goals, four assists) in seven games at last year’s World Juniors. This year, however, he will take on an extreme amount of responsibility as he is one of the veterans heading into the tournament. Not only does he have the World Juniors experience, but he also has some pro experience at the AHL and NHL levels.
Perfetti currently plays for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 17 games. He is a cerebral puck carrier who uses his elite hockey IQ to maneuver around defenders and create space for him and his linemates. He is once again surrounded by elite-level talent on Canada’s roster, with the likes of Jake Neighbours, Mason McTavish, Owen Power, Shane Wright, and Connor Bedard, to name a few. Perfetti and Team Canada look to avenge their loss from last year’s tournament and bring yet another World Juniors gold medal to Canada.
Bright Future for the Jets
With a handful of prospects playing here at the biggest tournament in hockey, it’s safe to say that the Jets are well equipped for a bright future with these four forwards in their system. Keep an eye out for all of these guys to make an impact one way or another, be sure to tune in on Boxing Day to watch your favourite Jets’ prospects compete at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Born and raised in Kamloops B.C. and a die-hard fan of the Kamloops Blazers, hockey has always been a part of his life. Now, Colton is exploring the sports media world and looking to make it a career. He currently covers the Winnipeg Jets, as well as contributes to World Juniors, and draft-related content. He is co-host of the WesternCentric Podcast, which revolves around the WHL.