To lose the 2017 World Junior Championship was hugely disappointing for Team Canada.
But not for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Canes’ three prospects on Team Canada all played well in the tournament, albeit leaving with silver medals after the 5-4 shootout loss Thursday against Team USA in the championship game in Montreal. Forwards Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy, used on the same line, were a dangerous 1-2 offensive punch throughout the event and defenseman Jake Bean was generally effective on the back end.
Gauthier, the 21st pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, finished with five goals and two assists in the seven-game tournament, with two game-winners. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound winger has the kind of power, skating and shooting skills that could soon land him in the NHL given the Canes’ scoring woes in recent years.
Roy, taken by Carolina in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, is a center and another proven scorer who continues to improve each year. He’s still growing into his body — he’s now 6-4 and 208 pounds — and could make a push for an NHL roster spot in a few seasons.
Roy’s third goal of the World Juniors gave Canada a 3-2 lead Thursday. Team USA later rallied from a 4-2 deficit to tie the score, force a 10-minute overtime, and then win the gold on Troy Terry’s shootout goal.
Gauthier had 23:52 of ice time in the championship game and Roy 23:11, and both had minus-2 ratings. Bean, the 13th overall pick of the 2016 draft by the Canes, was on the ice for 21:51 and was minus-1.
Roy made a big jump last season, scoring 48 goals and finishing with 90 points in 63 games with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 2014-15, he scored just 16 goals in 68 games.
“I think I was stronger and faster, and that makes a huge difference,” Roy said. “Before I was a more defensive player, but I know I can be both. I wanted to show I could be good defensively and be good offensively at the same time, and I think I showed that.”
Roy, Gauthier and Bean all attended the Canes’ preseason training camp in September before being sent back to their respective junior teams — Gauthier to Val d’Or of the QMJHL, Bean to the Calgary Hitmen (WHL).
Roy has 16 goals and 38 points in 25 games for Chicoutimi, and Gauthier seven goals and 27 points in 23 games for Val d’Or.
Gauthier on Friday was traded to the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL.
Bean, who had 24 goals last season for the Hitmen, has sidelined by an upper-body injury much of this season, playing just eight games.
Forward Janne Kuokkanen, a second-round pick by the Canes in 2016, played for Finland in the WJC. Kuokkanen, with the London Knights of the OHL, had one assist in six games.