Photo credit:(Photo from Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
How Leafs prospects Fraser Minten, Easton Cowan made Canada’s world junior team
By Steven Ellis2 months ago
It’s not a huge contingent, but the Toronto Maple Leafs will be represented at the World Junior Championship this year.
Only two Leafs prospects will travel to Sweden – while, coincidentally, wearing a Maple Leaf. Fraser Minten and Easton Cowan were named to Canada’s 22-man roster for the tournament, and are set to travel to Sweden later today.
For Minten, the 19-year-old entered camp as a lock. And it showed in his usage, with the 6-foot-2 center sitting out both of Canada’s exhibition games against the USPORTS Canadian university all-star team. Minten’s role with Canada isn’t clear yet, and it could change if they get an NHLer like Adam Fantilli, Zach Benson, or Matt Poitras once they’re in Sweden.
Minten played in the intra-squad scrimmage on Monday, lining up beside Nate Danielson and Owen Allard. It was a very informal scrimmage, with a running clock and various format changes every few minutes. Minten did see some brief time on the penalty kill, and I thought he did an excellent job of helping his defensemen in his own zone.
And then there was Cowan, who brought solid energy to the scrimmage with Owen Beck and Brayden Yager. He then started the first game as the 13th forward but bounced around the lineup throughout the game, including a stint with top 2024 NHL Draft prospect Macklin Celebrini. Cowan had a quiet game, but one scout I talked to loved how committed he was to the defensive game. On a team with a large number of role players, Cowan played well enough to impress coach Alan Letang.
OAKVILLE, Ont. – Easton Cowan chats with Macklin Celebrini during Team Canada 2024 World Junior Championship Selection Camp on Dec. 10, 2023. (Photo from Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
Letang wasn’t as pleased about Cowan’s game on Wednesday, which felt uneventful. One OHL scout said it was one of the quietest performances he had seen from Cowan in quite some time. It felt like Cowan would be one of the four forwards cut.
“I know Easton Cowan real well just from playing against him,” Letang said. “He’s an energy guy. He’s all that. We have a good read on him. I thought yesterday he was better than today.”
Alas, Cowan made it. And he’ll join his roommate, Minten, in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Canada is bringing 12 forwards and seven players to start, with room for one more roster spot. They’ll have a few days to see if they can get an NHLer to come over, or else they’ll bring back one of the players they cut on Wednesday. Who they bring could change what role both Minten and Cowan play, but mostly Minten, who could play either the wing or down the middle.
Cowan, meanwhile, will likely play a bottom-six role, giving the team some non-stop energy. Despite his strong numbers with London, don’t expect him to play a more offensive role with Canada. He did see some time on the flank on the power play during the exhibition games, which is notable. It’ll be interesting to see if they bring him back with the second PP unit, but I’d expect him to play more on the penalty kill instead.
But that’s a topic for another day. For now, just celebrate the fact the Leafs have Canadian representation since Ian Scott played one game in net in 2019. Two reps, in fact.
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