The United States will attempt to win back-to-back titles for the first time after beating Canada 2-0 in the 2021 championship game. Canada was the last team to do so, winning five in a row from 2005-09.
The 2022 WJC is August 9-20 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The tournament was originally scheduled for December 26 – January. 5 but postponed to December 29 due to coronavirus concerns.
The United States plays preliminary round matches in Group B with Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Group A consists of Canada, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latvia.
Latvia was added to replace Russia, which has been banned from the international game due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Hughes, the youngest brother of the Vancouver Canucks defender Quinn Hughes and Devil’s Center Jack Hughes, had 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 41 games last season as a freshman at the University of Michigan. The 18-year-old defenseman was a top 10 nominee for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award presented annually to recognize the best NCAA men’s hockey player.
“It’s an honor to wear the jersey whenever you can,” said Hughes. “To go back there and try to defend that is super important for American hockey and our country. I think it’s really exciting, and we’re going to do our best. We’re going to take it game by game, and we’ll really excited as a team.”
[RELATED: World Junior Championship schedule | Group A preview]
The top four teams in each group will play the quarter-finals on August 17. The semi-finals are on August 19 and the championship and third place matches are on August 20.
There will be no relegation round, meaning the same 10 teams will play in the WJC 2023 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick from December 26 through January. 5.
All games will be shown on NHL Network in the United States and TSN in Canada.
Here’s a breakdown of each Group B team, in the predicted order of finish:
Coach: Nate Leman
2023 NHL Draft Watch: Charlie Stramel, F, USA U-18 (NTDP)
Scheme: August 9 Germany (10pm ET); August 11, Switzerland (10 p.m. ET); August 13, Austria (2pm ET); August 14, Sweden (10pm ET)
Outlook: Leaman will take up a quick and supportive game front and back with the help of returning forwards Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes), Brett Berard (New York Rangers) and Landon Slaggert (Chicago Blackhawks) and defenders Brock Faber (Minnesota Wild), Tyler Kleven ( Ottawa Senators) and Hughes. Goalkeepers Andrew Oke (2023 draft qualifying) and Kaidan Mbereko (2023 draft qualifying) each impressed during the development camp and are the front-runners vying for game time. A freshman at the University of Minnesota, Cooley finished second on the U.S. Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team last season with 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 51 games. He finished second to second-place United States at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 World Championship with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six games. Stramel (6-foot-3, 212 pounds), a right-shot center who will be a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 26 games for the United States under-18 team season. Faber is team captain. He was traded to the Wild by the Los Angeles Kings with the number 19 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for forward Kevin Fiala on June 29.
Video: Jon Paul Morosi and Team USA Crew in the WJC
Coach: Tomas Monten
2023 NHL Draft Watch: Mans Forsfjall, D, Skellefte (SWE)
Scheme: August 10, Switzerland (2pm ET); August 12, Austria (2pm ET); August 14, United States (10 p.m. ET); August 15, Germany (10pm ET)
Outlook: Sweden has no forwards Alexander Holtz (Devils) or William Eklund (San Jose Sharks) to lead the charge, but remains solid in goal with Jesper Wallstedt (Wild), Calle Clang (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Carl Lindbom (Vegas Golden Knights) , and at defender with Simon Edvinsson (Detroit Red Wings), Helge Grans (Kings) and William Wallinder (Red Wings). Offensively, Monten will look to Daniel Ljungman (Dallas Stars), Theodor Niederbach (Red Wings), Oskar Olausson (Colorado Avalanche) and Jonathan Lekkerimaki (Vancouver Canucks). Wallstedt plays for Iowa in the American Hockey League this season, having scored 12-10-0 last season with an average of 1.98 goals against and a save rate of 0.918 for Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League. The 19-year-old was 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a 0.962 save at the WJC in 2022 before the tournament was postponed.
Coach: Tobias Abstreiter
2023 NHL Draft Watch: No
Schedule: August 9, United States (10:00 p.m. ET); August 10, Austria (10pm ET); August 13, Switzerland (10 p.m. ET); August 15, Sweden (10pm ET)
Outlook: Germany will struggle to match sixth place at the 2021 WJC without the top qualifying players, forwards Tim Stutzle (Senators), JJ Peterka (Buffalo Sabres) and Lukas Reichel (Blackhawks). Defender Luca Munzenberger is heavily relied upon, who averaged 21:41 ice time in five games in the 2021 WJC. The 19-year-old, selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round (No. 90) of the 2021 draft, will be sophomore at the University of Vermont this season. Goalkeeper Florian Bugl (2023 draft-eligible), who helped Germany win against Slovakia and Switzerland at the 2021 WJC and finished with a 2.95 GAA and a 0.896 save percentage in three games, returns but will be replaced by Nikita pushed in front of the Quapp (Carolina Hurricanes) runway.
Coach: Marco Bayer
2023 NHL Draft Watch: Rodwin Dionicio, D, Niagara (OHL)
Scheme: August 10, Sweden (2pm ET); August 11, United States (10 p.m. ET); August 13, Germany (10pm ET); August 15, Austria (2:00 PM ET)
Outlook: Switzerland relies on goalkeepers Noah Patenaude (7-2-2, 2.96 GAA, .914 save percentage) from Saint John in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Kevin Pasche (20-19-4, 2.87 GAA, .903 save percentage) ) from Omaha in the United States Hockey League to remain competitive. Striker Simon Knak (Nashville Predators) returns for his third World Juniors after captaining Switzerland in ninth place in 2021. Defender Brian Zanetti (Philadelphia Flyers) had 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 56 games for Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League last season and should play a big part. Dionicio (6-2, 207) had 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 57 games for Niagara in his North America debut last season and is on the NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch list for the 2023 draft.
Coach: Philip Pinter
2023 NHL Draft Watch: No
Scheme: August 10, Germany (10pm ET); August 12, Sweden (2pm ET); August 13, United States (2 p.m. ET); August 15, Switzerland (2:00 PM ET)
Outlook: Austria finished 10th in 2021 and are back looking for its first win in its fifth tournament appearance (0-17), but it won’t be easy against the competition in the preliminary round. It will be without Marco Kasper (Red Wings), the number 8 pick in the 2022 draft. Striker Senna Peeters, who scored Austria’s only goal and will play his third WJC, will be counted on to provide some attack. The 20-year-old had 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 34 games for Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. Kasper, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with Detroit on July 13, decided to take a break from hockey in August due to a heavy workload internationally and last season with Rogle BK in the Swedish Hockey League.