Six Carolina Hurricanes’ prospects are likely representing their countries later this month at the World Junior Championships. Who is playing where?
With the World Junior Championships right around the corner, December 26th – January 5th in the Czech Republic, several nations have begun to name their preliminary tournament rosters. The Carolina Hurricanes will once again have several prospects in the spot light. Let’s take a quick look at who is playing where?
Three Hurricanes prospects have already been officially named to team Finland’s preliminary roster while two more are expected to get the nod from their respected countries. When you add in Massimo Rizzo, who was named to Canada West’s roster for the World Junior A Challenge, that makes six Canes prospects set to appear on the global stage later this month.
2019 third round picks Anttoni Honka and Patrik Puistola, although currently injured, should suit up in the blue in white for the Fins along with 2018 fourth rounder Lenni Killinen. The trio all had a strong showing for Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase, making a solid case for each of them to make the final tournament roster.
While Honka is pretty much a lock to be a key member of Finland’s top four, based on both his play at the Summer Showcase and the Finnish Elite League this season, and Killinen likely earning a depth role for the Fins, Puistola’s recent injury has become a massive question mark for the Fins.
Back on the December 3rd, Puistola was stretchered off the ice and taken to the hospital after a dirty hit to the head in a Liiga game. Released from the hospital and cited as doing “relatively well considering the situation” by the team, it remains to be seen just how long the young winger will be out. Possibly missing all of World Juniors, his loss would be a major blow for the Fins.
Although, at the time of this writing, USA and Germany haven’t released their initial preliminary tournament rosters, 2018 second rounder Jack Drury and St. Louis’ 2018 first rounder Dominik Bokk, acquired in the Justin Faulk trade, are expected to be on their nation’s respected rosters once again.
Playing mostly in a depth role for the Americans in the 2019 World Junior Championships, Jack Drury was held without a point in seven games. With an expanded role at the Summer Showcase, Jack had two points, a power play goal and an assist in three games. Looking ahead, it is likely that he slots in USA’s top nine with some power play time this year.
Thought of as the main piece in the Faulk trade, Bokk will likely be the go to man for the Germans once again. Appearing in ten games in the past two World Junior Championships, Bokk has an impressive 13 points, two goals and 11 assists, producing at a 1.3 point per game pace. An alternate captain last time around, look for him to be a part of the leadership group once again.
Rounding out the group is 2019 7th rounder Massimo Rizzo. Currently playing in the BCHL, he has 24 points, 9 goals and 14 assists, in 21 games. Named to Canada West’s roster for the World Junior A Challenge, a tournament that will take place December 7th – 15th in Dawson Creek, Rizzo is the only name on this list not competing in the World Junior Champions in the Czech Republic.
Although these rosters aren’t finalized, as teams can add and cut players all the way through the pre tournament games, it is likely that all of the Hurricanes’ prospects will make their team’s final cut, save for the injured Puistola. Having six players named to national teams is a testament to the Hurricanes’ scouting staff, and while it is nice to consistently have players named to these rosters, the bigger story tends to be those whom are “snubbed” or omitted.
Some fans may say that 2019 first rounder Ryan Suzuki and 2019 second rounder Jamieson Rees were among the “snubbed” from Canada’s World Junior roster. Both players suited up for Canada during the Summer Showcase and were rather underwhelming, with a combined one shot on goal in two games.
With Suzuki currently missing time with an eye injury it makes sense for him to be omitted but Rees on the other hand, has made a strong case for himself with 39 points in 20 games this season on an underwhelming Sarnia team. Both players are 18 so they’ll be eligible to play in the next two World Junior Championships, should they earn a spot on a deep Canadien team.
At just 19, Andrei Svechnikov is actually eligible to play for the Russians. While there’s zero chance that the Hurricanes would allow him to go if they were asked, the future continues to look bright for Carolina with their elite players all in the early stages of their careers and six on national team rosters.
The 2020 World Junior Championships kicks on Boxing day, December 26th, while the World Junior A Challenge kicks off December 7th. Stay tuned for a full recap of how each prospect performed in the two tournaments.
Which Carolina Hurricanes prospect are you most looking forward to watching the on the national stage?