Four Flyers Prospects Named To World Juniors Preliminary Rosters

Cutter Gauthier is a lock for the United States and will look to help knock off Canada after losing to them in the semi-finals last year.
Cutter Gauthier is a lock for the United States and will look to help knock off Canada after losing to them in the semi-finals last year. / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The World Junior Championships are set to begin in just a few weeks. Held in the city of Gothenburg for the first time, it will be the seventh time that Sweden has hosted the competition. Gothenburg was expected to host the event in 2022, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held in Edmonton and Red Deer. Games will begin on Dec. 26 and run through Jan. 5.

The 10-team tournament will feature two different groups. Group A holds Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Latvia. Group B contains Czechia, the USA, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Norway. Russia and Belarus continue to be banned from participating in the competition. For Flyers fans, that means Matvei Michkov will not be able to attend. He certainly would've been a lock to make Russia.

Flyers fans will still have a chance to see some of the team's prospects participating in the tournament. The four players selected to preliminary rosters span across three different countries. Represented are the USA, Canada, and Slovakia.


Cutter Gauthier
Cutter Gauthier is off to a fantastic start at Boston College and should provide the United States squad with plenty of fire power. / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

A lock to make the final roster, Cutter Gauthier shined in seven games for the USA in last year's tournament. He registered four goals and 10 points. While the United States finished first in group play, they would lose to Canada in the semi-finals. They ended up defeating Sweden in overtime to win the bronze medal. Gauthier had two goals in the 8-7 victory, including a late third-period goal that almost won the game in regulation.

Gauthier is having an impressive sophomore season for Boston College. He has 12 goals and 20 points in just 16 games and is on pace to score more goals than his freshmen year. With a strong finish, he could earn a new high in points. He had 15 goals and 35 points in 30 games last season. Gauthier leads Boston in goals and is third on the team in points.

Gauthier is tied for second in goal-scoring amongst all NCAA skaters. His 20 points are in the top 15. He will be joined by seven current teammates on the USA preliminary roster.


While Gauthier will almost certainly make the final roster, Denver Barkey and Oliver Bonk aren't necessarily guaranteed a spot on Canada's roster. The two recently represented Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the only time they've put on a Canada sweater. Something that could work in their favor is that Owen Beck is the only returning member of the 2023 gold-medal winning team. So the competition is wide open for both players. And it is a good sign for them that they were named despite not being invited to Canada's summer meetings.

Denver Barkey
Denver Barkey is tearing things up for the Knights and could find himself representing Canada on the World Junior stage for the first time. / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages

Barkey's elevated play in the OHL this season could give him a leg up on his competition. He is seventh in the league in points (37) and sits just inside the top 15 in goals (15). Carson Rehkopf is the only player with more goals and points on Canada's preliminary roster.

Barkey is coming off yet another multi-point game for the Knights, as he had four points in a 7-3 win over Saginaw. It's the first time he has had a four-point outing, though. He's registered two or more points in 11 games. Barkey also recorded his first OHL hat trick this season.

Oliver Bonk
Oliver Bonk is also having a strong season for the Knights and could provide a spark on the backend if selected to Canada's final roster. / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages

Bonk will have slightly less competition ahead of him. The team only needs to cut five total players from its roster since teams can carry 25 players. With 16 forwards and 10 defensemen, the team could cut three from the former and two from the latter. That is if they decide to carry all three goaltenders. Nonetheless, Denton Mateychuk and Ty Nelson are the only two with more points among defensemen vying for a spot.

Bonk is just four goals away from tying his career high from last season. And with a strong finish, he is also likely to finish with more points. He is seventh on the Knights in goals (6) and is tied for fourth on the Knights in points (28). He is first among defensemen in both categories. Bonk is ranked eighth in points amongst all OHL defensemen. The Flyers rewarded his efforts by signing him to his entry-level contract in late August. He is expected to play at least another season for the Knights.


Alex Ciernik
Alex Ciernik is looking like a diamond in the rough pick for the Flyers and has faired rather well in international competition. / Dale Preston/GettyImages

Alex Ciernik has a chance to be another diamond in the rough pick for the Flyers. A second-round talent, he slipped to Philadelphia in the fourth round. Playing in the second-highest league in Sweden, the Slovak forward has four goals and 12 points in 19 games for Västerviks IK. Loaned to the team for 10 games last season, he had two goals and six points. The 19-year-old still has plenty of room to grow, but it's a pleasant surprise to see him performing rather well early on.

He is fourth on the team in both goals and points, with three fewer games played than team leader Theo Jacobsson, who has 18 points. He's one of the positives on a mostly struggling Vastervik team. The team has scored 53 goals, with Ciernik registering a point on almost 34% of them. That's rather impressive for a 19-year-old.

A part of Slovakia's World Juniors squad last season, Ciernik chipped in two goals and three points in five games. In international play this season, he has already posted two goals and seven points in eight games. Ciernik is an intriguing prospect for Flyers fans to watch and should play a role with the Slovaks in the coming weeks.