Latvia Advances, Lehner to Miss the Season & More

The big news out of this weekend was Team Latvia moving beyond the round robin for the first time in the country’s history at the tournament. We also saw Canada and USA win while learning that Robin Lehner will miss the entire season following hip surgery.

We are in the thick of the offseason. Fans on Twitter are fighting over which projected lineup is going to be better and whether or not the Sens should change their goal song. I’m doing my best to gather the links, news and notes from around the league but it’s pretty barren on this Monday morning. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a break and enjoy the summer.

Nonetheless, the hockey world rolls along:

  • Latvia’s World Junior team has advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in the country’s history in the tournament. Team Latvia is one of a few countries who tend to rotate in and out of this tournament, often finding themselves playing for relegation at the end of each set of games. Led by undrafted captain Ralfs Bergmanis, Latvia will finish in Group B ahead of Czechia and their win last night officially eliminated Slovakia from the tournament.
  • The two teams out of North America have officially finished the round robin portion of the World Juniors undefeated after Team USA downed Sweden 3-2 on Saturday night. Through the tournament, Ridly Greig and Rob Järventie lead Sens prospects with four points each through three games. Unsurprisingly, Tyler Kleven has been left off the scoresheet but his style of play has been welcomed on USA’s back end; he’s been playing some bigger defensive minutes and doing so admirably. Zack Ostapchuk worked his way from extra skater to an important member of Canada’s third line, contributing a goal and an assist in the process. Finally, Leevi Meriläinen ranks fourth in SV% for goaltenders in this tournament with a respectable 0.913.
  • It was announced on Thursday that former Senators goaltender Robin Lehner will miss the entirety of the 2023-23 season after undergoing hip surgery. After a blockbuster deal which saw Jack Eichel head to Vegas, the Golden Knights had an underwhelming season last year and this news doesn’t make their prospects for the upcoming campaign look any brighter. Without Lehner, Vegas is left with Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit between the pipes. Yikes! Jesse Granger at The Athletic (paywall) looked at some options for Vegas moving forward.
  • One of my favourite pieces this past week came from Matthew Fairburn (paywall), diving deeper into the Buffalo Sabres turn towards a more analytic approach following the hiring of Sam Ventura as VP of Hockey Strategy in 2021. Sam has quietly been one of the most influential people in hockey for the last few years.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks announced the signing of Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev this week as the offseason winds down and teams get their rosters in order for training camp next month. /

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