A look at the All-Tournament Team from the 2023 World Juniors
The World Juniors felt like it was back to its old self for the first time in three years.
After attempts in Edmonton and Red Deer, and a summer tournament with limited fans, the World Juniors in Halifax and Moncton seemed to be the perfect remedy for what this prospects showcase needed.
Every year it seems like we say ‘best tournament of all time,’ but this time, it seemed genuine. Even without Russia participating, six teams had a legitimate shot at medaling — especially with the recent re-emergence of Czechia and Slovakia. We saw some sensational goaltending, especially from stopper Thomas Milic in elimination contests, as well as Tomas Suchanek, who seemed to emerge from nowhere.
Both players have gone unselected in recent NHL drafts, but both will likely hear their names called in Nashville come July.
After a deserving ending to this year’s rendition of the World Juniors finished off with a golden goal by Dylan Guenther as Canada claimed gold in thrilling overtime fashion, and for a second year in a row.
The goal brought a close to the tournament, but not before medal presentations and a few awards, including the all-tournament team as selected by media in attendance.
The following are the players determined to be the best at the 2023 World Junior Championship:
Conor Bedard | F | Canada | 2023 NHL Draft
There isn’t much to say about this kid that hasn’t already been said. Named most valuable player of the World Juniors, Connor Bedard broke record after record with his incredible run. With 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in seven games, he has solidified himself as the top prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft class — as if there was ever really any question.
Adam Fantilli, and Leo Carlsson, two players considered potential top-three selections this year along with Bedard, finished with six and five points, respectively.
Bedard’s 23 points were the third most all-time behind only Peter Forsberg and Marcus Naslund from the 1993 World Juniors.
CONNOR BEDARD SENDS CANADA TO THE SEMIS! #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/4s06UDY6oX
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 3, 2023
Jiri Kulich | F | Czechia | Buffalo Sabres
Jiri Kulich stood out as the best forward for Czechia in their silver medal run, flashing his offensive prowess and defensive capabilities every night.
Finishing second in goals behind only Bedard, even goals from the Buffalo Sabres prospect always seemed to be timely ones — like his overtime winner in the semifinal against Sweden or his goal against Canada in the finals to get Czechia on the board and give the team a boost in the third period.
JIRI KULICH SENDS CZECHIA TO THE GOLD MEDAL GAME 🇨🇿#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/yPRFzfM40W
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 4, 2023
Logan Cooley | F | Team USA | Arizona Coyotes
With all the hype deservingly surrounding Bedard, Logan Cooley quietly had an impressive World Juniors, finishing second in scoring with 14 points (seven goals, seven assists). Cooley got the party started in the bronze medal game with the opening against Sweden as Team USA claimed third place in an exciting 8-7 victory in overtime.
With the struggles the Arizona Coyotes have been facing this year, we will likely see Cooley donning the kachina jersey next year and making the jump to the NHL.
Logan Cooley capitalizes off the turnover to give USA a 1-0 lead 🚨#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/rfbxmEf0GM
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 5, 2023
David Jiricek | D | Czechia | Columbus Blue Jackets
This Czechia team was built from the blue line out, with David Jiricek being the big anchor on the way to Czechia’s first medal since 1995. With some NHL experience already under his belt with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jiricek was leaned on heavily. Logging nearly 20 minutes of ice time a game, he averaged a point-per-game with three goals and four assists in seven games.
Jiricek found himself as one of the heroes for the Czechs as they were on the brink of elimination against the Swedes in the semis. His game-tying goal with 38 seconds left forced overtime, where the Czechs would be victorious on their way to the gold medal game.
DAVID JIRICEK TIES THE GAME WITH 38 SECONDS LEFT IN REGULATION!#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/RScZyF6DaZ
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 4, 2023
Ludvig Jansson | D | Sweden | Florida Panthers
One of the tournament’s biggest surprises, Ludvig Jansson, was arguably Sweden’s most valuable player. Jansson, along with Ryan Ufko of Team USA, led all defensemen in scoring for the tournament with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games.
As a fourth-round pick by the Florida Panthers in 2022, not much was expected of Jansson heading into the tournament. His impressive week and a half in Atlantic Canada has solidified himself as a potential future blue liner down in the sunshine state.
🇸🇪 @Trekronorse STRIKES FIRST!!!
Ludvig Jansson rips it past the goalie and the net hits the top of the net. #WorldJuniors #CZESWE
📱Download the IIHF App: https://t.co/disMCd9VW4@FlaPanthers @SodertaljeSK pic.twitter.com/A38nBgYog4
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 4, 2023
Tomas Suchanek | G | Czechia | Undrafted
Passed on in the 2022 NHL Draft, Suchanek was on a mission to prove 32 teams wrong on his road to the silver medal. Suchanek led nearly every major statistical goaltending category, finishing second in save percentage (.934) and first in goals against average (1.52), He was stellar whenever called upon by his team.
Not only did he keep the puck out of his net better than anyone else, Suchanek also added three assists to his stat line, an all-time record for goalies. On a team where expectations were much higher than in years past, Suchanek was a force in the crease, a necessity for any run Czechia was looking to make.
Canada comes close on the power play, but Tomas Suchanek stands tall with a couple of huge saves! #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/EwZLdjxDc6
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 27, 2022
Not only did he keep the puck out of his net better than anyone else, Suchanek also added three assists to his stat line, an all-time record for goalies.
On a team where expectations were much higher than in years past, Suchanek was a force in the crease, a necessity for any run Czechia was looking to make.