When the World Juniors were scheduled to start back in December, the Hurricanes tied a record for having the most prospects go with 10. Now, with injuries and the disqualification of the Russian and Belarussian hockey teams, Carolina will have just four prospects attending the rescheduled World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Carolina seems to adore their Finnish prospects so let us start with the Suomi team. I’ll start with Ville Koivunen.
Koivunen is someone that wants to break games open and be the X factor of a game. He is very smart with his puck movement and with his feet. He’s never standing still and always trying to position himself to be a threat to score a goal. A smart player that the Hurricanes took 51st overall in the 2021 NHL draft, he is one of two Hurricanes representing the Finns at the rescheduled tournament.
Aleksi Heimosalmi is also going. Heimosalmi is a very mobile defenseman and at 5’11, he’s a little bigger than the stereotypical smaller faster blueliner. Carolina’s 44th overall pick in 2021 is going to be joining Koivunen on the Finnish team. Heimosalmi’s ability to pick a pass, and execute to get the puck up ice in a hurry might actually result in some assists to the other Canes Finn attending this tournament.
Moving away from Finns, Nikita Quapp will be attending for Germany. Being the only Canes netminder on this list and the only Canes netminder attending the World Juniors, Quapp will be expected to backstop a growing hockey nation. While Quapp is yet to show that he can be an NHL-caliber goalie, goaltenders are wild. A good season at one level means nothing at a different level. It’s difficult to find a good goalie as Canes fans know all too well.
Ronan Seeley is the final Cane going and he made the team Canada lineup. The former Everett Silvertips captain will be going to this World Junior Championships to warm up for his first season with the Chicago Wolves. An offensively gifted defenseman, Seeley has really exploded since he was drafted in the 7th round by the Hurricanes and will even get to play on Canada’s 2nd powerplay unit.
Keep an eye on these four during the month of August. While there’s not one person here as a definitive standout talent, there’s a lot to like in terms of the personnel going and the talent of the prospect pool that will be attending this event.