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Lian Bichsel selected to play for Switzerland at World Juniors, clearing up disagreements from summer

The situation Lian Bichsel, Dallas Stars first round pick from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, has been in with regards to his hockey national federation has reportedly been resolved.

Earlier this year, Lian Bichsel was omitted from participating at the World Juniors tournament held in August because of his refusal to participate in preparation camp before the start of the real camp ahead of the tournament. We covered the situation in more detail in his feature earlier last month. Fortunately for Bichsel, highly touted prospect of not only the Dallas Stars but also the Switzerland national team, both parties involved have come to an understanding and Bichsel will indeed appear in World Juniors in four weeks time.

According to SwissHabs.com, Lian Bichsel has been selected for the U20 World Juniors Championship, which will be played in Canada at the end of December and beginning of January. As previously stated, he was not part of the Swiss team in the last U20 tournament, which was held in August rather than originally around Christmas time due to the Covid pandemic situation.

The 18 year old and U20 national team head coach Marco Bayer reportedly met recently to discuss their mutual expectations. On this occasion, Lian Bichsel once again underlined his clear commitment to the Swiss national team and declared, as in the past already, that he wanted to play for Switzerland again. As I’ve already pondered in his detailed feature, I considered the whole thing about his non-participation in August World Juniors as a total misunderstanding, which may have actually been some sort of blessing in disguise as the tournament was held at the time players are usually preparing for their seasons to start and could have possibly disrupted the development schedule he’s on.

Nevertheless, participating in a tournament of this caliber is always a great measuring stick for a developing prospect, which Lian Bichsel certainly is. Lars Weibel, Director Sport at Swiss Ice Hockey and Head of National Teams, is also delighted with these developments, according to SwissHabs.com:

“We are happy that we were able to resolve the differences from last summer and are delighted that Lian is once again part of the team for the next U20 Worlds in Canada”.

Bichsel has played 18 games so far for Leksand IF in SHL this year, registering one assist. He also played a short spell for their juniors team, tallying three points in four matches.

Which other Dallas Stars prospect may we expect to see play for their countries at one of the biggest stages in international juniors hockey?

There’s definitely Logan Stankoven, who should be a lock to make an incredible Canada roster, alongside other future superstars like Connor Bedard. Potential sleeper pick to make the Canadian roster could be Francesco Arcuri, who’s been tearing it up in Kingston, scoring 18 goals in 22 games so far this season. Another player to watch could’ve been Christian Kyrou, but it’s hard to see him jumping ahead of projected roster locks like Kevin Korchinski, Olen Zellweger, Denton Mateychuk and others.

It’s possible we might also see Albert Sjoberg suiting up for Sweden in World Juniors again, who went pointless in seven games the last time the tournament was held. Due to the fact Russia will not be able to participate in the tournament, we will not have a chance to see Artem Grushnikov or even potentially Maxim Mayorov on the big stage this time around. While this is not the ideal situation for the Russian prospects, it is completely and absolutely the right move to make due to the unprecedented Russian invasion into Ukraine.

Given the majority of prospects selected by the Dallas Stars scouting staff is Canadian, it’s expected the quantity of participants from the Stars organization won’t be sky high, as Canada’s team will be stacked, as is their annual tradition.

On the other hand, it’s positive that two of the biggest prospects Dallas Stars currently have in their system – Lian Bichsel and Logan Stankoven – should play a major role for their respective teams in their quest for gold. That should further prepare them for the expectations once they are playing in Victory Green.