9:18PM: Kaapo Kakko, who is still eligible to play at the World Juniors, will not play for Finland.
6:18PM: Hockey Canada has confirmed that the Rangers will not release Alexis Lafreniere to play for Team Canada at the World Juniors.
Hockey Canada said in a statement:
“After ongoing discussions with the New York Rangers, Hockey Canada has been informed that Alexis Lafrenière will not be released to represent Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Although we are disappointed Alexis will not be able to join our team for World Juniors, we understand and respect the decision made by the Rangers.”
Lafreniere is in New York and has reportedly been training at the Rangers practice facility in advance of training camp.
Defensemen Braden Schneider and Matthew Robertson and goalie Dylan Garand at Hockey Canada’s camp now.
Adam Rotter: It always seemed unlikely that Lafreniere would be allowed to play at the World Juniors for a few reasons. Timing is the main one as Lafreniere would have needed to be in Edmonton by this weekend to quarantine in advance of the tournament and then he would almost certainly need to quarantine upon returning in the first week of January, which is very likely to be when training camp is underway. Injury concern probably played a bit of a role as well, he was injured at the tournament last year before returning to win the MVP, but unless the NHL announced that they were not opening training camps until mid-late January and starting the season in early Feb, the timing and quarantines likely wouldn’t work out. Instead, Lafreniere gets to train with some of his new teammates, adjust to being in the NY area and be ready for training camp.