- Canada & USA meet in Group B action on Dec. 26 at the World Junior Hockey Championship
- The United States won Silver at last year’s tournament while Canada failed to win a medal
- Goalie Spencer Knight and forward Cole Caufield are players to watch for Team USA
Junior hockey fans love their traditions and few are greater than Team Canada and Team USA meeting on Boxing Day at the World Juniors. The tradition continues at the 2019-20 tournament in the Czech Republic. Canada and the US, who both reside in Group B, will open their round-robin schedules against each other at 9:00 AM ET on Dec. 26.
Oddsmakers have made the Canadians a -160 favorite.
Canada vs USA odds
|USA||+1.5 (-210)||+120||O 7.0 (+105)|
|Canada||-1.5 (+160)||-160||U 7.0 (-140)|
*Odds taken Dec. 23rd.
Here’s something you didn’t need me to tell you – Canadians love their hockey. Why is that important? They love to bet on hockey too and it seems to be weighing heavily on the oddsmakers. Looking at the two rosters, it’s easy to like Team USA in this game and the fact you can get them at +120 on the moneyline should be seen as a Christmas gift.
Why am I so confident in the red, white and blue? Two players in particular.
Team ?? sings Happy Birthday to Nico Daws at the end of practice
Guelph goalie turns 19 today
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 22, 2019
Spencer Knight is the Best Goalie at the WJHC
Here’s a fun fact: every time Canada has won gold at this tournament when played in Europe, their starter has won the best goalie award. Spencer Knight is the favorite to win that award in this tournament and that alone will give Team USA an edge. The 6’3 superstar was selected 13th overall in last year’s NHL draft by the Florida Panthers.
"This will be the best goaltending prospect to come out of amateur hockey since Carey Price."
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) December 22, 2019
With Sergei Bobrovsky inking a lucrative seven-year deal with Florida this off-season, this tournament could prove to be an audition for Knight. The Panthers may end up trading him for a top player later in the season and, with scouts in attendance, this could be his showcase.
Knight is 11-4-0 with Boston College this year, sporting a 1.73 goals against average and .940 save percentage. Any game he’s between the pipes, it’s advantage Americans in net.
Cole Caufield Will Score Early & Often
The Montreal Canadiens drafted Cole Caufield two picks after Knight in last year’s draft and the common belief among insiders was it could be a steal. Caufield is only 5’7 but, in the new NHL which trends towards speed and skill, he could develop into an elite superstar.
In 64 games with the US National Under-18 Team last year, Caufield scored 72 goals and added 28 assists. (Editor’s note: 72 goals is not a typo.)
This year, he has 12 goals and 20 points in 18 games at the University of Wisconsin, leading the Badgers in scoring as a freshman.
Someone always makes a bunch of people look really bad on draft day, this year that player is Cole Caulfield.
— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) June 22, 2019
While Knight has a good chance to be the best goalie in the tournament, Caufield could be the leading scorer. He had four goals against Germany in a pre-tournament game and should fill the net in the Czech Republic.
Could Lafreniere & Byfield Spark Canada?
The top two left wingers on Canada’s rosters will go early in the upcoming NHL draft. Alexis Lafreniere is expected to go first overall and is returning to the tournament for a second time, while Quinton Byfield from the Sudbury Wolves is making his debut at the WJHC. They are great players who are looking to make a name for themselves, but I don’t love the chances of Canada being sparked by two under-agers against a strong American team with Knight in net.
These two will have a great tournament by the time it’s said and done, but expect a rocky start and a loss in the opener against Team USA.
Pick: Team USA Moneyline (+120)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.