- Team Canada captain Kirby Dach is out for the World Junior Championships after sustaining an injury in exhibition versus Russia
- Dach was favored to lead the tournament in goals, points
- Team Canada futures take a notable hit
We’re only through two nights of exhibition play, but there is already a major developing story coming out of the 2021 World Junior Championships.
Dach Out for Tournament
Team Canada Kirby Dach will miss the entirety of the World Junior Championship after sustaining an arm/wrist injury in a Wednesday exhibition game against Russia.
Dach went in to check Ilya Safonov in the third period of Canada’s 1-0 win, but grabbed his arm after making contact and went directly off the ice and into the Team Canada locker room and did not return.
Following the game, Canada head coach Andre Tourigny said Dach required X-rays on his arm/wrist area, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted Thursday morning that Dach is indeed out for the tournament. Additionally, he will also miss NHL time as Chicago Blackhawks doctors continue to asses the 19-year-old.
No official word yet from @HockeyCanada but Kirby Dach is out of the WJC because of the injury suffered yesterday. So Team 🇨🇦 loses its captain. CHI doctors still assessing Dach’s injury but he will be missing NHL time as well.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 24, 2020
Dach spent the 2019-20 season with the Blackhawks, tallying eight goals and 23 points across 64 games. Chicago drafted the former Saskatoon Blade with the third overall pick of the 2019 draft.
Due to the unique nature of the Edmonton bubble, Team Canada will not be able to replace Dach’s spot on the roster.
Canada opens up tournament play on Boxing Day versus Germany.
Favored to Lead Tournament in Goals, Points
This isn’t any ordinary tournament-ending ailment. According to individual stat futures, Dach was expected to be the best player in the tournament.
Just yesterday, I picked Dach to lead the tournament in points at +460, as per Bovada. Dach was also favored to lead the tournament in goals at +575, but I pivoted to his winger Jack Quinn as my top pick in that department.
Of course, neither is possible at this point. As the player with the most NHL experience in the tournament, it wasn’t surprising to see Dach at the top of the individual stat futures. After captaining Canada, Dach was expected to head back to Chicago and skate alongside Patrick Kane, giving him an excellent opportunity in his development as a franchise pillar for a Blackhawks team in transition.
Instead, Wednesday’s fluke injury will not only cost Dach the remainder of the World Juniors but also valuable development time in the NHL.
Canada Futures Values Take Big Hit
Not only was Dach favored to run roughshod over the competition individually, Team Canada was a heavy favorite to win the tournament at +105, odds that have shifted ever so slightly to +110. Whether we see another odds shift at Bovada before the tournament gets underway on Christmas Day remains to be seen.
With far inferior competition in Group A, the Canadians don’t appear to be in much jeopardy of losing their grasp on the round-robin. Their -275 odds to win Group A represent a lot of juice to lay, but they should get it done. The top underdog to wager would be Finland at +275, but there’s simply no way Germany (+2500), Switzerland (+2500) or Slovakia (+4000) are in a position to pull off the upset despite the injury to the tournament’s top player.
Where this hurts Canada the most will be in the medal rounds. Both Russia (+375) and the United States (+475) see their respective values increase with this unfortunate news. Given the talent and goaltending both of those nations brings to the table, it’s awfully difficult to find excess value in Canada at +110 to win the 2021 World Juniors.
In fact, if you read my 2021 World Junior Championship Betting Preview, you’d know that I was on the Americans from the get go. Their talent up front is elite and riddled with high-end NHL picks and prospects while Spencer Knight should battle Russia’s Yaroslav Askarov for the tournament’s top goaltender honors.
With the unfortunate injury news to Dach, the Americans’ value is on the rise and I would absolutely lock them in at this point.