Being one of the National Hockey League’s top teams comes at a cost.
Boxing Day typically marks the start of the World Juniors, one of the hockey world’s most exciting events, and this year is no different. The 2023 World Junior Championship begins today with four games: Finland/Switzerland, Sweden/Austria, Latvia/USA, and Czechia/Canada.
But, for the first time since 1982, the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t have a single prospect taking part in this year’s World Juniors. A four-decade streak of Maple Leafs representation will come to an end when the first puck drops on Monday.
In a sense, it’s understandable. With a 21–7–6 record through the first three months of the season, the Leafs are a Stanley Cup contender with the desire to win now. They’ve made just eight picks over the last two drafts.
But the cupboards aren’t completely bare. Matthew Knies is just barely too old to play for Team USA this year, while Ty Voit was a curious omission on the part of USA Hockey considering his fantastic statline with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. The Leafs selected both Knies and Voit in 2021.
Meanwhile, 2022 fifth-round pick Nikita Grebenkin would’ve been a shoo …
Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation