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Top NHL draft-eligible players at the 2020 World Junior Championship –



The projected top-three picks at next June’s NHL Draft in Montreal are due to be on display for hockey fans over the holidays at the World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.

Canada leads the group with some intriguing names on display while Sweden should have a pair of players up front who could help their offence.

Here’s a look at the top names who will be available for NHL clubs to select next June and competing at this year’s WJC.


Alexis Lafreniere, LW: He’s been the projected first-overall pick for a long time and could solidify that over the next few weeks if he has a solid tournament. This will be Lafreniere’s second world juniors after scoring one goal in five games at last year’s event. He will be relied upon heavily on Canada’s top line and should be well rested given that his first game in nearly two weeks came in a pre-tournament tune-up against Switzerland. He’s lit up the QMJHL so far this season and will have a chance to shine in the international spotlight.

Quinton Byfield, C: If there’s anyone pushing to topple Lafreniere for top spot in the draft, it’s Byfield. With his big, powerful frame, he’s extremely difficult to play against. Add in his impressive goal-scoring ability and Byfield is a remarkable player to watch. He’s third in OHL scoring with 57 points with the Sudbury Wolves and Canada’s coaches liked what they saw from him during selection camp. He’s likely to slot in on one of Canada’s top two lines and should get plenty of ice time.

Jamie Drysdale, D: Drysdale’s smooth-skating and solid decision making skills earned him a spot on Canada’s roster as a seventh defenceman. He’s been projected to be a top-10 pick at the draft although how much time he plays for the Canadians at the world juniors will depend on the performance and health of others. An exciting, offensive blueliner.

Dawson Mercer, RW: The product of Bay Roberts, N.L., is projected to be a mid-first round selection following a strong first half with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. His crafty hands in front of the net earned him a goal in pre-competition play against Switzerland as he continues to make a case for minutes in Canada’s lineup.


Lucas Raymond, LW: There was some uncertainty as to whether Raymond would even make Sweden’s team at all, but he’s arrived at the tournament with lots to prove. His numbers at the pro level with Frolunda of the SHL haven’t been outstanding, but now he’s got a chance to play against players his own age. He’s a skillful forward and Sweden hopes he can provide some much-needed offence. Projections have Raymond going third overall.

Alexander Holtz, RW: Another young forward with a lot of upside for Tre Kronor. Holtz has good size at six foot, 183 pounds, which he uses to his advantage. A good friend of Raymond’s, Holtz has a nice shot and explosive speed. He’s a first-year pro with Djurgardens IF and played on the same line as Raymond in some tournaments leading up to the world juniors. It could make for an exciting trio to watch when the under-20 event begins.


Anton Lundell, C: There was doubt as to whether Lundell would even play at the tournament after an elbow injury earlier this month had him projected to miss six weeks. He was productive last year as Finland won WJC gold with one goal and three assists and has carried that forward in his second season in Liiga, Finland’s top professional level. Early projections have Lundell being a top-10 pick.


Yaroslav Askarov, G: Askarov is the top goaltender available at the draft with his impressive numbers at every level he’s played at so far. Currently with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg of the VHL, a league below the KHL, he’s got a 2.38 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in 16 games. Can anyone say this year’s Andrei Vasilevskiy?


Jan Myšák, LW: Projected as a mid-to-late round pick, Mysak has played this season in his native Czech Republic with HC Litvinov where he has five goals and four assists in 26 games. Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino lists him as a good, all-around player.

Jaromir Pytlik, C: A big centre at six-foot-three and almost 200 pounds, who can put the puck in the net. Pytlik has 14 goals and 18 assists in 31 games this season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. He decided to come to North America to raise his draft stock at the start of January and so far it appears as though it’s paid off.


Tim Stutzle, LW: Stutzle will be one to keep an eye out for this year. He’s projected to be just outside the top-five, but playing in a best-on-best tournament like this one could change the opinions of scouts. He has five goals and 18 assists in 25 games during his first year of pro with Adler Mannheim of the DEL. He has good size and skill and it will be fun to see what he can do for Germany.

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Jays lose third in a row to Yankees – Bluebird Banter



Blue Jays 7 Yankees 10

Well, game three end up a lot closer than the first two games.

There were lots of Yankees home runs. Lots. Yankees seem to have that swing down to loft the ball to the short porch to left.

Julian Merryweather ‘opened’ and he managed not to give up a home run. But he wasn’t good, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned. I hoped he could go two innings but no such luck.

Chase Anderson followed and threw a very good second inning. Then he gave up 5 home runs in the third, while getting just 2 outs. He gave up three consecutive home runs on three pitches.

It did remind me of a joke from my youth. What goes whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack. A pitcher going down to the minors.

Wilmer Font finished out the third inning and got through the fourth without allowing a run. Our pitching MVP of the series.

T.J. Zeuch pitched 3 innings, giving up just 1 run on, you guessed it, another homer. He allowed 3 hits, 3 walks with 3 strikeouts.

On offense, it was the Lourdes Gurriel show, with 4 hits, 2 homers, a double and a single. Danny Jansen had 3 singles.

We had a rally in the ninth, giving us a few moments of fun. . With one out:

Aroldis Chapman came in:

  • Bo Bichette singled home 2. 10-7, bringing the tying run to the plate.
  • Randal Grichuk struck out.
  • Teoscar Hernandez struck out to end the game. Hernandez was 0 for 5 with 4 strikeouts in his first game back. It will take couple of games to get his timing back

Jay of the Day: Lourdes (.124 WPA).

Suckage: Anderson (-.319) and Merryweather (-.140), Grichuk (-.111, 1 for 5) and Teoscar (-.093)

Matt Shoemaker can’t come back quick enough.

Tomorrow is a double-header, in Philadelphia. first game is 4:00 Eastern.

We had 753 comments in the GameThread. 13yearoldbaseballfanatic led us to defeat.

The series had me thinking of this song, the chorus is ‘Burn this cabin down’. I’m thinking we should do that to Yankees Stadium, burn it to the ground.

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Blue Jays lose big again – Bluebird Banter



Blue Jays 2 Yankees 13

We held them to a couple of touchdowns today. Progress of sorts.

Yankees hit 7 home runs. 4 off of starter Tanner Roark. The first, a solo homer in the first inning, was a Yankees Stadium special, one that would only be a home run with the short porch in the Bronx. But the other ones were crushed.

Roark went 4 innings, allowed 6 hits, 6 earned, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Jacob Waguespack pitched the next 2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 5 earned, 1 walk with 2 home runs.

Hector Perez got into his first MLB game. He pitched 1.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 earned, 3 walks, 1 k with 1 home run.

Anthony Bass got the last out.

Someone named Kyle Higashioka (the Yankees backup catcher) hit 3 home runs.

Offensively, we only had 5 hits. We didn’t get our first hit until the sixth inning, when Jonathan Villar led off with a double. He would score our first run on a wild pitch. Joe Panik homered in the ninth, to get our second run.

Villar, Grichuk, Vlad, Panik and Espinal had our hits.

Can’t blame the defense today.

No Jays of the Day today. Danny Jansen had the high mark at .007 WPA for his 0 for 2 and a walk.

Suckage: Roark (-.246).

It’s possible that the Jays will send out Wags before tomorrow’s game, if they decide they need someone who can give them a few innings.

We had 643 comments in the GameThread. FlipDown Shades led us to crushing defeat.

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Blue Jays: Tanner Roark does not belong on postseason roster – Jays Journal



If the Toronto Blue Jays earn a postseason berth, it may go without saying that pitcher Tanner Roark does not belong on the postseason roster.

Tanner Roark once again got torched by the opposition last night as the Blue Jays lost their second contest in a row to the New York Yankees. The 33-year old hurler gave up six runs including four gopher balls over four innings of work.

Roark now sports an inflated 6.41 earned run average allowing 28 earned runs on the season and has not pitched past the fifth inning in any of his nine starts. The veteran pitcher has also surrendered an American League-leading 14 home runs in his first season with the Blue Jays.

The right-hander was very outspoken to the media following his previous start when Manager Charlie Montoyo lifted him after just 67 pitches. However, Roark brought much of the same last night and definitely did not adhere to the old “Put up or Shut-up” adage.

Toronto’s magic number for the postseason now sits at eight games and regardless of their last two efforts, they should still earn a berth in the playoffs. The Blue Jays brain trust will then have to decide if Roark is worthy of a roster spot.

The team will hopefully have Matt Shoemaker back before the conclusion of the season so they could employ a rotation of Shoemaker, Hyun Jin Ryu, Taijuan Walker, and Robbie Ray. That would not only leave Roark but Chase Anderson on the outside looking in.

The Jays inked Roark to a two-year pact this past offseason that will see him earn $12 million again next season. Anderson could hit free agency if the Jays decide not to pick up his $9.5 million dollar team option.

Regardless of the contractual obligations, Roark has done nothing to prove he belongs on the postseason roster and will in all likelihood not pitch once the season concludes at the end of September.

Next: Blue Jays: Fisher should never step foot in the outfield again

Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words, Tanner.

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