It has been a few years since Canada secured back-to-back gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship — it went back-to-back-to-back-to-back from 2005 to 2009, to be precise — but if you ask the oddsmakers, this year’s squad is a shoo-in to do just that.
Boasting a roster of 20 first-round picks between the last two draft classes, the Canadians have the talent to win gold for the first time on home soil since 2015, when Toronto and Montreal split hosting duties. Due to COVID-19, everything will be held in Edmonton, a province the country hopes to be atop the podium in for the first time since 1995. (Canada finished third in 2012 when Calgary and Edmonton played hosts).
As the defending champs, Canada has a pretty easy group, and should make it out; Group B, however, is this year’s “Group of Death.” The odds-on-favorite to advance from that quintet is Russia, which is No. 2 when it comes to odds of winning gold. Quick reminder: It was Canada and Russia in the 2020 gold-medal match, so another meeting would make for some high-quality — and high-drama — television.
Here’s a quick look at how the odds shake out for the group stage and coveted podium spots.
2021 IIHF World Junior Championship odds
Odds to win group
Odds to win finish in the top 3
Odds to win gold