Perhaps no two players got more questions leveled at them on social media following Canada's Quarterfinals loss to Czechia than Fraser Minten and Easton Cowan, with critics partially blaming the two for Canada's struggles throughout the tournament.
Both Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects both came to the World Juniors as two players who were hard pressed to be considered options before the start of the Canadian Hockey League season.
Cowan, a surprise pick in the First Round for Toronto, was coming off a strong end to his year with the OHL's London Knights, although his WJC was still not certain. Fraser Minten, Toronto's 2nd Round Pick in 2022, similarly had a strong season with WHL Kamloops, yet was rarely seen in conversation for a spot.
What really pushed both over the line isn't that they were Leafs, but both made a case due to their clear high level of maturity. Minten, the Canadian team Captain, made the Leafs roster at 19, and showed himself capable of handling the NHL level.
Video Analysis of Fraser Minten at the World Juniors for Team Canada
After being sent back down, Minten was traded to the Saskatoon Blazers shortly after. Cowan earned his spot through continuing where he left off from last season in the OHL, quickly being one of the league's top point producers , with his 1.77PPG 2nd among Canadians in the league, right behind fellow WJC teammate Carson Rehkopf at 1.78
First, before going into video, here is the player tracking cards from Mitch Brown & Lassi Alanen of EliteProspects, which I obtained with my own Patreon membership I should note.
So what this tells us is that Fraser Minten played a responsible, defensive-minded game but struggled to produce offense while having difficulties in transition, and Minten played solid defense but struggled to make an impact with the puck.
Of course, it's offense that usually gets the most attention from social media highlights, so let's analyze their overall games. This article will focus solely on Minten, breaking down his game, both the good and the bad, with a follow-up part 2 on Cowan as well.