Who can play in the 2023 World Juniors? Connor Bedard, Luke Hughes highlight group of potential returners

World Juniors 2022 is over as Canada won gold against Finland in a thrilling 3-2 contest on Saturday. What’s next?

Luckily for hockey fans, the next World Juniors tournament is just around the corner. Because the 2022 edition had to be played at an unusual time, the turnaround time between tournaments is much shorter than normal. The 2023 competition is scheduled to be held at its usual time in late December and early January.

Not all players will be able to return as much of the tournament has been eliminated and will no longer be eligible to play in December.

However, there are certainly many talented players, including tournament MVP Mason McTavish, who have the opportunity to play at the World Juniors for the 2023 tournament.

MORE: McTavish’s goal line saves biggest takeaway from Canada’s gold medal win

Here are some of the players eligible to play again at World Juniors 2023.

Who can play again at World Juniors 2023?

The tournament, which is categorized as U20, only allows certain players to participate. The easiest way to find out who qualifies for one of the World Juniors is to take the year of the tournament and subtract 20. For example, in the 2023 tournament, any player born in 2003 or later can participate in the games.

Let’s take a look at the players who took part in the 2022 edition and can return for the 2023 tournament.


The reigning gold medalists will lose more than half their roster with only 11 available to play. However, considering those who can come back, it’s easy to believe that the team can claim gold for the second year in a row.

Connor Bedard, Mason McTavish and Logan Stankoven can all return in December, giving Canada back three of its best forwards. I wouldn’t be shocked if McTavish decides not to play since he should be in the middle of his rookie season with the Ducks. Olen Zellweger can return to the blue line to be the No. 1 defender again.

player position NHL Rights (Draft)
Connor Bedard f Draft 2023 eligible
Nathan Gaucher f Ducks (2022 1st round)
Mason McTavish f Ducks (201 1st round)
Riley kidney f Canadians (2nd round 2021)
Brennan Othman f Rangers (2021 1st round)
Zack Ostapchuk f Senators (2nd round 2021)
Joshua Roy f Canadians (2021 5th round)
Logan Stankoven f Stars (2021 2nd round)
Ethan delMastro D Blackhawks (2021 4th Round)
Carson Lambos D Wild (2021 1st round)
Olen Zellweger D Ducks (2021 2nd round)

United States of America

The United States have nine players who can return for the team upset in the quarterfinals. The two main returnees will be Logan Cooley and Luke Hughes. After skating in a top 6 role, Cooley can take top line center while Luke Hughes will continue to see top pairing minutes on the blue line.

player position NHL Rights (Draft)
Logan Cooley f Coyotes (2022 1st round)
Sascha Pastujov f Ducks (2021 3rd round)
Red Savage f Red Wings (2021 4th Round)
Charlie Stramel f Draft 2023 eligible
Sean Behrens D Avalanche (2021 2nd round)
Luke Hughes D Devil (2021 1st round)
Jack Peart D Wild (2021 2nd round)
Kaiden Mbereko G undrafted
Andrew Oke G undrafted


The Finns have to reconstruct much of the squad, especially the blue line, with just seven players qualified for the 2023 tournament. Aleksi Heimosalmi is the only defender who can play in December. The biggest returnee will be Joakim Kemell, who finished the tournament second in points from all skaters.

player position NHL Rights (Draft)
Oliver Kapanen f Canadians (2nd round 2021)
Joakim Kernel f Predators (2022 1st round)
Ville Koivunen f Hurricanes (2nd Round 2021)
Brad Lambert f Jets (2022 1st Round)
Kalle Vaisänen f Rangers (2021 4th round)
Aleksi Heimosalmi D Hurricanes (2021 2nd round
Jani Lampinen G undrafted


The Swedes have 10 players who could return to the country in December. Simon Edvinsson is one of them, but there’s a good chance he’ll become a regular at the Red Wings if he gets the team out of camp. Looking at the forward group, 2022 first-rounders Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Liam Öhgren and 2021 first-rounders Fabian Lysell and Isak Rosén should lead the forward group.

player position NHL Rights (Draft)
Jonathan Lekkerimaki f Canucks (2022 1st round)
Fabian Lysel f Brown Bears (2021 1st round)
Liam Ohgren f Wild (2022 1st round)
Isak Rosen f Saber (2021 1st round)
Albert Sjoberg f Stars (2021 7th round)
Victor Stjernborg f Blackhawks (2021 4th round)
Simon Edwinson D Red Wings (2021 1st Round)
Ludwig Janson D Panthers (2022 4th round)
Anton Olson D Predators (2021 3rd round)
Carl Lindbom G Golden Knights (2021 7th round)

Czech Republic

Almost the entire squad of the fourth-placed Czech team is eligible to return for the 2023 tournament. The loss of Jan Mysak will hurt them the most as the captain was the Czech Republic’s best player this summer. Michal Gut will also be difficult to replace as he played solidly in the second row. The entire defensive core can come back, however, and it’s a deep group that can roll three pairings consistently.

player position NHL Rights (Draft)
Yaroslav Chmelar f Rangers (2021 5th round)
Peter Hauser f Devil (2022 5th round)
Daniel Herzik f undrafted
Jacob Kos f Panthers (6th round 2021)
Jiri Kulich f Saber (2022 1st round)
Adam Mechura f undrafted
Matous Mensik f undrafted
Martin Rysavy f Bluejackets (2021 7th round)
Matyas Sapovaliv f Golden Knights (2nd round 2022)
Gabriel Struc f undrafted
Ale Czech D undrafted
Tomás Hamara D Senators (2022 3rd round)
David Jiricek D Blue jackets (1st round 2022)
Frantisek Nemek D undrafted
Stepan Nemek D undrafted
David Spacek D Wild (2022 5th Round)
Stanislav Swozil D Bluejackets (2021 3rd round)
Jiri Tichachek D undrafted
Tomas Suchanek G undrafted

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