The 2023 World Junior Championships are right around the corner, so let’s take a look at the roles that a couple of Dallas Stars prospects are expected to play for their respective nations.
Logan Stankoven, Canada
Logan Stankoven has established himself within the Stars fanbase.
The 5-foot-7 forward impressed last season, winning the WHL Player of the Year award and going on to win Gold at the 2022 WJC. He continued to impress during his time at Stars Development Camp, Traverse City, and into the NHL preseason before being sent back to play one more season in Kamloops.
“I think they just wanted me to go back, there’s no point of me staying on the team and being an in-and out of the lineup guy,” Stankoven said in a phone interview. “They’d want me to come in and be more of an impact guy. It doesn't hurt to come back to junior for one more year, and we get to host the Memorial Cup.”
This year, Stankoven’s role is expected to be even bigger. The recently named alternate captain is projected to center Canada’s second line along with Adam Fantilli (2023 draft) and Dyan Guenther (2022-ARI). Seattle Kraken prospect Shane Wright will wear the “C” for Canada, who are again the heavy favorites to win the Gold in 2023.
“Now I know what it takes to win gold,” said Stankoven. “Hopefully, I can kind of lead the way, help guys out, and hopefully bring back a gold medal again.”
Here is how Canada lined up in their first pre-tournament game against Switzerland on Monday. Canada won the game 6-0.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 19, 2022
Stankoven, unsurprisingly, has been on a tear for Kamloops in the WHL this season. Before heading to WJC camp, the 19-year-old tallied 17 goals and 44 points in 21 games for the Blazers. He sits tied for eighth in that category.
“When I was younger, I was more of a pure goal scorer. But at the next level, you need to be able to do everything,” Stankoven said. “You can't just be the one scoring the goals and shooting the puck. You’ve got to be able to have high hockey IQ and make creative plays and passes. If you can have playmaking ability and scoring ability, it can boost your stock a bit.”
Lian Bischel, Switzerland
Bischel is an interesting story on the International Stage.
Over the summer, he was invited to attend camp to potentially play for Switzerland in the 2022 World Juniors. But after a busy year and season in the SHL, the 18-year-old Stars 2022 first-round pick needed a break, and opted to miss camp, hoping it would not affect his chances of making the team. This was not received well and it was later announced that he would not be part of the team in the upcoming tournament.
Those bridges seem to be repaired, as Bischel will be on Switzerland’s team in 2023.
“We are glad that we were able to clean up and clarify the differences from last summer,” says National Director Lars Weibel, “and are happy that Lian will be part of the national team again for the upcoming U20 World Cup in Canada.”
The big and heavy defenseman has been turning heads with his defending and skill. In the team’s first pre-tournament game against the aforementioned Team Canada on Monday, Bischel skated on the second defense pairing.