The 2014 World Junior Hockey Championship kicked off today in Malmo, Sweden, as Canada cruised to a 7-2 victory over Germany. Frederik Gauthier, the Leafs’ 2013 first-round draft pick, made his World Junior debut along with the rest of the Canadian squad.
The 6-foot-4 centre racked up an assist in the blowout win on Josh Anderson’s opening goal for Canada in the first period. Gauthier manned a fourth-line wing spot along with Anderson and captain Scott Laughton. The line didn’t see much ice time but brought much-needed energy during the shift that culminated in Anderson’s goal.
Gauthier was drafted 21st overall last June and has continued to put up decent numbers for the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 24 points in 29 games. However, his role on a Canadian squad stacked with talent will likely be strictly in a defensive, energy role.
Fabrice Herzog, the Leafs’ fifth-round pick (142nd overall) last June, is a member of Switzerland’s entry in the tournament and will make his debut against the host country at 1 p.m. EST today. Herzog made the jump to Canadian major junior with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts this year and has impressed with 20 goals and 29 points in 34 games.
The Swiss face the Russians and Canada takes on the Czech Republic in each team’s second preliminary round game on Saturday.