On Monday afternoon, Canada announced their leadership group for the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer. The player that will carry the title of Captain Canada will be none other than the recent Edmonton Oil Kings acquisition and 2020 first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens – Kaiden Guhle. Edmonton had just recently acquired Guhle in a blockbuster trade that saw Carson Latimer, Eric Johnston, a 2021 first-round pick (via Kelowna) in the WHL prospects draft, a first-round pick in the 2023 draft, a third-round pick in 2025, and a sixth-round pick in 2022 all going to Prince Albert in order to add the superstar for a Memorial Cup push. Guhle is one of three returning players for Canada this year, along with goaltender Dylan Garland and forward Cole Perfetti. In last year’s tournament that saw Canada win silver, Guhle was solid on the back end, putting up 3 points in 7 games while posting a +8 plus/minus rating.
The Oil Kings are also represented in this leadership group by forward Jake Neighbours, as he secured an Assistant Captain position. The 2020 St.Louis Blues first-round draft choice is having himself another excellent season in Edmonton with 18 points in 10 WHL games. Guhle and Neighbours are two of four Edmonton Oil Kings that made Team Canada, as Dylan Guenther draws in on the right-wing, and Sebastian Cossa is expected to be the starting netminder between the pipes for Canada. All four Edmonton players are first-round picks.
One more Edmonton tie to this year’s Canadian squad comes from the Oilers system in their 2021 first-round draft pick Xavier Bourgault. This season, he has been lighting the lamp in the QMJHL with 42 points in 24 games – good for 8th in league scoring. Suppose Bourgault has a big tournament against elite competition. In that case, It will say a lot about the value he brings to Edmonton’s system, as he has proven thus far that he is likely a very worthy draft selection for the Oilers at 22nd overall.