We were treated with a little bit of an appetizer during the opening day of the 2022 World Juniors on Tuesday. Minnesota Wild depth prospects like Servac Petrovsky were able to shine above some of their teammates. But now, on Wednesday, the second day of the tournament, we get to the real meaty section of the Wild’s prospect pool.
Some of the most prominent and talented players that the Wild had the honor of drafting in recent years were on display for their country. Let’s see how they did.
Liam Öhgren, Sweden vs. Switzerland
The Wild’s first pick of their 2022 draft class was slotted in on the third line on a Team Sweden that has been heralded as a potential contender due to the other powerhouses being weakened in every position — no one can blame players using their month before NHL training camps to prepare for that instead of playing in some weird postponed thing in Edmonton.
Öhgren finished with zero points and one shot on goal in just 9:31 TOI. Not a whole lot to think about here. He got buried by some older, higher-caliber prospects on this team and overall Sweden kind of looked terrible. Switzerland played the trap game perfectly, keeping the score even for the first 36 minutes and let the opposition just make their own mistakes.
They didn’t look too good, but it wasn’t Öhgren’s fault at all. He had some strong forechecking plays, looked just fine, but didn’t produce because of a strong strategy.
Jesper Wallstedt, Sweden vs. Switzerland
When it’s a silly and boring game, teams have to rely on their goaltending and Jesper Wallstedt was perfect through the first two periods. He even managed to create some excitement via a double save highlight.
The 19-year-old made 21 saves on 23 shots — tallying up to be a .913 save percentage so far in the tournament — which is not that bad. The first Switzerland goal was scored by just slipping through under Wallstedt’s arm and the second (scored within a minute of each other) was a rocket through traffic that went over and into the top corner.
Again, not the most dominant showing and not the best that we have even seen from Wallstedt, but just solid enough to not question his legitimacy.
Carson Lambos, Canada vs. Latvia
I don’t know what it is about Canada facing Latvia, but they almost always have a hard time getting the win. The team just looks like they’re skating through cement as they try to get past into the Latvian zone. Nevertheless, Canada still walked away with a 5-2 win because even if some forwards opted out, they still have Connor Bedard on their team.
For our powerful two-way defenseman and Wild 2021 first-rounder Carson Lambos, he finished the game with zero points and just over eight minutes on the ice. Frankly, he had a brutal game and somehow finished minus-1 in the victory. If I just saw the ice-time, I would think that since Canada has a back-to-back (playing Servac Petrovsky’s Slovakia on Thursday afternoon) they are just spreading the minutes around. But Lambos just looked awful, so let’s just take that and move on.
Ryan O’Rourke, Canada vs. Latvia
O’Rourke was simply a ghost out there. Edged Lambos just slightly with nine minutes of ice-time and has a whole row of zeroes for a box score. No plus-minus, no shots, no points, no penalty minutes — just hanging out there.
Again, maybe he can play better against a fairly top-heavy Slovakia team and get some work in in the hours between, but it’s definitely not a good start for the Canadian defenders that are representing the Wild for the next couple of weeks on the international stage.
As mentioned before, Canada will be facing Slovakia at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. David Spacek will also be returning to the ice as Czechia plays Finland at 1:00 p.m., and Brock Faber and Jack Peart are slated to give a little more hope that Lambos and O’Rourke, as the United States play Switzerland at 9:00 p.m.