By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins prospect Johnny Beecher will not wear his country’s colors at the 2021 World Junior Championship, as the big-bodied center was among the final cuts from the team’s camp. Beecher was a seemingly surprising cut from camp considering that he was on last year’s team, but it came as a result of a positive COVID-19 test (enough to disqualify him from the tourney under current IIHF rules), Beecher’s father told the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter.
Beecher has since tested negative, according to his father.
Beecher scored nine goals and 16 points in 31 games for the University of Michigan last year, earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors in the process. As mentioned, Beecher skated for Team USA at the 2020 World Junior Championship in between runs for the Wolverines, appearing in five games in a disappointing sixth-place finish for the Americans.
Following a holiday break, Beecher, drafted with the No. 30 overall pick in 2019, will return to Michigan, where he totaled one goal and an assist in eight games prior to departing for Team USA training camp.
This will mark the first time since 2015 that the Bruins haven’t had a prospect of theirs on a Team USA World Junior Championship tournament roster.
The Bruins will have representation in the tournament (should it go on as scheduled), however, with Russian defenseman Roman Bychkov (No. 154 overall in 2019) and Finnish forward Matias Mantykivi (No. 185 overall in 2019) qualifying for their country’s respective rosters.
The 5-foot-11 Bychkov qualified for Russia’s roster after totaling one goal and four points in 21 games with Buran Voronezh in Russia’s second-highest division of hockey. Mantykivi, meanwhile, will represent Finland after beginning his 2020-21 campaign with four assists in 17 games for SaiPa in Finland’s top league.
This year’s tournament is scheduled to begin on Dec. 25 in an Edmonton bubble.