The Toronto Maple Leafs got some good news Wednesday evening, as two of their top prospects earned spots on Canada’s World Junior team.
Toronto Maple Leafs prospects Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten will be representing the colours of Red and White this Christmas, as the Canadian National Junior Team chases their 3rd-straight gold medal.
This is great news for Leafs fans, as they get to watch some of their prized prospects play in one of the best hockey tournaments in the world.
This is also great news for the team, as the Leafs had a whopping zero affiliated prospects at last year’s tournament.
But beyond that, both Fraser and Minten will be better players for having experienced the World Junior Tournament and that will only help the Leafs in the future.
With that being said, let’s do some more analysis on how both Cowan and Minten fit into this Canadian roster.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Cowan, Minten Earn Spots On Team Canada
Minten has been a lock to make this team for a while it seems. Many people have pointed out Minten’s skill set and how it would benefit Hockey Canada for him to be included on this roster since even before camp started.
Every year, Team Canada has to make tough choices for their World Junior roster. Almost every player that gets invited to camp is a superstar for their own team, meaning Canada could take a roster full of scorers who can light the lamp.
But that’s not how this tournament is won.
Not every player can be a first-liner on this team, and certain players have to take bottom-six roles. This is exactly what Fraser Minten has done.
While Minten can score with no problem at the WHL level, his ability to win faceoffs, play physically, and be reliable in his own zone make him a perfect candidate for the third line.
He also has a strong chance of wearing a letter on his jersey.
Easton Cowan is in a much different spot to Minten, as if you asked most people 6 months ago if Cowan would even be invited to camp, most would say no.
But Cowan has continued to prove people wrong, putting up a monster season so far in the OHL for the London Knights, and of course, he earned a spot on Team Canada.
However, as opposed to Minten, there’s a good chance Cowan earns little playing time with this team.
He’s not a bad player by any means, and I personally do want him to succeed, I do think however next year’s World Juniors is his chance to shine. Team Canada has chosen 12 forwards for this roster, leaving a spot open for a potential NHLer (Zach Benson, Matt Poitras, etc.) to take a spot on the team.
This would push Cowan down the lineup to likely the fourth line, where he’ll obviously get less action. Even with this, Cowan is easily capable of playing his way up the lineup and earning more minutes, which I hope he does.
Regardless, this World Juniors will be as entertaining as always, and Cowan and Minten will make watching Team Canada that much more fun.
The Canadians begin their quest for their 3rd-straight gold medal on Boxing Day vs rivals Team Finland.