Senator’ fans have seen their fair share of World Junior performances by rookies in the past 15 years.
From a most valuable player award to gold medals, to overtime winners and a kid carrying a devastated nation on his back, the Senators’ youth has excelled on the world stage.
Here are the Top 10 Ottawa Senator’ World Junior performances in the past 15 years:
Alex Formenton – Team Canada, 2018
Alex Formenton was a crucial depth piece in Team Canada’s Gold Medal run in Buffalo, 2017. Formenton amassed 4 points in 7 games, scoring the clinching empty net goal to secure the Gold Medal for the great white north.
Brady Tkachuk – Team USA, 2018
Tkachuk had a quietly great tournament for an American team that took home the gold. He was 6th in scoring, tallying 3 goals and 9 points in 7 games. Tkachuk’s biggest performance came in the outdoor game against Canada, where he tied the game in the third period and then proceeded to score the shootout winner.
Josh Norris – Team USA, 2019
Norris also had a quietly good tournament for the American team looking to repeat. Being on a team with two of his good friends, Jack and Quinn Hughes, Norris had 6 points in 7 games, including the game-tying goal in the third period of the Gold Medal game, right before Kappo Kakko won the gold for Finland very late in that period.
#10 – Shane Pinto, Team USA, 2020
Kicking off the list is perhaps the Senators’ most promising prospect not in the major leagues right now: Shane Pinto. Pinto played 5 games for the Americans in 2020, scoring 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points. Against his toughest opponent, Pinto had 2 goals and an assist in the USA’s opening game against Team Canada, tying the game late before Alexis Lafrenière won the game for Canada. Pinto was named a Top 3 player for the United States, as voted on by the coaches.
#9 – Colin White, Team USA, 2017
Colin White came up massive for the United States on route to their Gold Medal in Montreal. He scored 2 of his 7 goals in the Semi-Finals against Russia, with those 7 goals being 2nd in tournament scoring. Also an apparent trend with Senators prospects, White tied the Gold Medal game against Canada at 4, tipping in an Adam Fox point shot late in the third period. White was subsequently named a top 3 player for the United States.
#8 – Erik Brännström, Team Sweden, 2019
Just over a month before being traded to the Ottawa Senators, Erik Brännström put on an offensive clinic at the World Juniors. In Sweden’s opening 2-1 victory, Brännström had 2 powerplay goals, single-handily carrying Sweden to the victory and preserving their round-robin win streak. He would go on to score against Slovakia and the United States, good for 4 goals in 5 games. For a young defenseman, Brännström had a phenomenal tournament, being named to the All-Star Team for the World Juniors and being voted a Top 3 player for Sweden. He was also named Captain of the team prior to the tournament.
#7 – Mika Zibanejad, Team Sweden, 2012
Mika Zibanejad was explosive and fast as a young prospect. Zibanejad scored twice in Sweden’s opening win against Latvia, on route to 5 points in 6 games. What makes Zibanejad’s spot so high is his fourth goal of the tournament; the Golden Goal and only goal as Sweden defeated Russia 1-0 in the championship game. Zibanejad broke the ice 10:09 into the first overtime, busting in from the wing and roofing a backhand over the Russian netminder. An incredible and clutch goal makes Zibanejad’s performance #7 on this list.
#6 – Drake Batherson, Team Canada, 2018
Batherson ties for first in goals on this list, as he scored an incredible 7 goals over his 7-game tournament. Batherson scored the game-winning goal against Team Finland, 2 goals in the Quarterfinals and a hat-trick in the Semi-Finals, including the game-winning goal. The 7-goal performance tied him with Filip Zadina for second in the tournament, as he was named a Top 3 player on a stacked Canadian roster that ultimately won gold.
#5 – Curtis Lazar, Team Canada, 2015
One of Ottawa’s most disappointing draft picks in recent memory, Lazar had an incredible World Junior performance. Whilst it could be argued that Lazar’s stats were inflated by playing on a line with Connor McDavid and on one of Canada’s greatest teams in recent memory, Lazar tallied 9 points in 7 games. The captain of Team Canada was 6th in tournament scoring and tied for 1st in goals with Max Domi and Sam Reinhart. Lazar also lead the tournament in faceoff percentage and sparked the offense for the team.
#4 – Mark Stone, Team Canada, 2012
One of Ottawa’s most underrated prospects of the time, a 6th round pick two years prior, busted onto the scene on a Team Canada team that had the made the finals the past 10 tournaments. Stone finished the tournament with 10 points in 6 games for Canada; and what is impressive is that he had all 10 points in the round robin portion. Stone had a hat trick in his first game against Finland, 3 of his 7 goals in the tournament. Stone also lead the tournament in faceoff percentage and plus minus, earning himself an award for being top 3 on his team.
#3 – Tim Stützle, Team Germany, 2021
Ottawa’s most exciting prospect had himself a tournament this past year, locked up in a bubble in Alberta, Canada. In his first game live as an Ottawa Senators prospect, Stützle had 2 of his 10 points in the tournament against a Finland team that could have easily defeated a COVID devastated German side. Instead, Tim Stützle put Team Germany on its back, carrying them to the Quarterfinals for the first time in the country’s history, before falling just short to Russia. Stützle finished with 5 goals and 5 assists, good for 5th in tournament scoring, and boosting Florian Elias and John-Jason Peterka to spots 6th and 7th in scoring as well. Having 3 Germans in the top 7 of World Junior scoring is something that was unthinkable, a testament to the skill of Stützle. He was voted as the tournament’s top forward, and would have received MVP consideration had his team moved further. The captain of the German side was obviously named a top 3 player for his team and left his mark in World Junior history.
#2 – Erik Karlsson, Team Sweden, 2009
The 2008 draft was held in Ottawa itself, and with the 15th overall selection, the Senators took Erik Karlsson. Ironically enough, the World Juniors in 2009 just a few months later were also contested in Ottawa, and what a showcase it was for Ottawa’s future franchise player. Karlsson totaled 9 points in 6 Sweden games, including a 3-point performance in the Semi-Finals. He tied P.K. Subban for most points by a defenseman in the tournament, and Karlsson ultimately took home the award for best defensemen. The Canadian team however, received the majority of MVP voting for their gold medal win. Had Jordan Eberle not scored his iconic goal against Russia, Karlsson could have had a case for MVP and potentially even a gold medal.
#1 – Thomas Chabot, Team Canada, 2017
So, what could possibly top a best forward award for Stützle and a best defensemen award for Karlsson? Well Thomas Chabot had arguably the greatest tournament by any Canadian defenseman at the World Juniors, ever. Chabot led all defense in goals, assists and points, taking home the best defenseman award and 1 of 2 All-Star team spots. Chabot, by far the leader in ice-time, put the Canadian offense on his back in every clutch instance, including an incredible toe-drag goal against the Czech Republic in the Quarterfinals. Similarly to how he does in Ottawa, Chabot quarterbacked the Canadian powerplay, setting up Mat Barzal and Dylan Strome on numerous occasions. Chabot was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player on top of the already massive list of accomplishments.
That is my list for the best Ottawa Senators performances at the World Juniors in the past 15 years! Let me know if you would change anything in the comments below the post!