It’s the Christmas season, and you all know what that means: The World Junior Championships start soon! It’s the one tournament starting on Boxing Day that everyone tunes in to watch. Except for the hockey hipsters, who are off in a corner eating artisinal tuna sandwiches made with mayonnaise from that all-mayonnaise store in Brooklyn. They’re watching the real tournament: the Spengler Cup.
This year Hockey Canada is using the Spengler as a try out for the Olympics, since there are no NHLers going. As luck would have it, there are four ex-Maple Leafs on the roster!
Mason Raymond (2013-2014)
Leafs stats: 82GP - 19G - 26A - 45Pts
Current team: SC Bern (NLA)
Raymond is already in Switzerland, so there isn’t much travel for him. In the Swiss league he’s doing very well after only playing four games with the Anaheim Ducks in the 16-17 season. 21 points (11G, 10A) in 23 games, and Bern is sitting on top of the league with a 24-4-4 record.
Jay McClement (2012-2014)
Leafs stats: 129GP - 12G - 15A - 27Pts
Current team: EHC Olten (NLB)
McClement is in Switzerland as well, but playing in the B league, so one step below where Raymond is playing. This is his level now, he’s almost a point per game (14 points in 15 games - 2G, 12A) in the league and his team is in second with a 22-5-0-1 record.
P-A. Parenteau (2015-16)
Leafs stats: 77GP - 20G - 21A - 41Pts
Current team: Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL)
Leaving the NHL for Russia after splitting the 16-17 season with the Devils and Predators, Parenteau is doing well in the KHL, with 12 points (2G, 10A) in 13 games. His team is 4th in the Eastern Conference, with a 24-11-4-3 record.
Nick Spaling (2015-16)
Leafs stats: 35GP - 1G - 6A -7Pts
Current team: Genève-Servette HC (NLA)
Spaling didn’t get much playing time before being traded to the Sharks at the 2016 deadline, but he’s stuck with one team the past two seasons in Switzerland, totaling 55 points (23G, 32A) in 66 games. GSHC sits 7th overall in the NLA with a 17-12-5 record.
These four brave men will defend Canada against the random European teams invited this year.
There are one other Maple Leaf playing in this tournament as well, prospect Jesper Lindgren’s team HPK Hämeenlinna was invited to play, and are in Group A so they won’t face Canada in the round robin.
Canada begins play on Dec 26th at 2:00PM ET against Mountfield HK. You can watch the games on TSN2. Canada is looking to win it’s third straight Spengler Cup title, winning the tournament in 2016 and 2015, and 15th overall win since 1984.