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Top NHL prospects dot Finland's WJC camp roster

Monday, 12.09.2013 / 10:43 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The Finnish National Junior Team on Monday announced the selection camp roster of players hoping to represent their country at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden.

Finland, which placed seventh at the 2013 WJC, is seeking its first medal since winning bronze in 2006. The camp features 27 players, including six who participated in last year's tournament -- goalie Janne Juvonen of Pelicans Lahti in Finland, defensemen Ville Pokka of Karpat Oulu (FIN), Rasmus Ristolainen of the Rochester Americans (AHL) and Juuso Vainio of HPK (FIN) and forwards Artturi Lehkonen of KalPa (FIN) and Teuvo Teravainen of Jokerit (FIN).

There also are 10 players on the roster drafted by NHL teams, including Ristolainen, taken by the Buffalo Sabres with the eighth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, and Teravainen selected the by Chicago Blackhawks with the 18th pick of the 2012 draft.

Norway invites 26 to World Junior camp

Friday, 12.06.2013 / 6:45 PM / Prospects

Forward Markus Soberg, a 2013 sixth-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, highlights the 26-player select camp roster released by the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association for the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Norway coach Orjan Lovdal will lead the team in a two-day practice in Oslo before departing for Karlstad, Sweden, for a pretournament game against Farjestad's Under-20 team Dec. 20. The team's final preparation game is against the Czech Republic on Dec. 23 in Landskrona.

The roster includes three goalies, eight defensemen and 15 forwards.

The 2014 WJC will be held Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden. Norway will compete in Group B with Sweden, Russia, Finland and Switzerland.

Sharks prospect Mueller tops Switzerland camp roster

Friday, 12.06.2013 / 10:58 AM / Prospects

Mirco Mueller, taken by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft, is one of 27 players invited to Switzerland's selection camp for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The Swiss camp will be held Dec. 16-18 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The Swiss also will play a pair of pre-tournament games in Sweden, against the Czech Republic on Dec. 21 and Canada on Dec. 23.

The 2014 WJC runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. Switzerland will be in Group B with Sweden, Russia, Finland and Norway.

Mueller, taken No. 18 by the Sharks, has two goals and six assists in 28 games with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. He had two assists and a plus-7 rating in six games at the 2013 WJC for Switzerland, which finished sixth.

Sweden returns nine players to WJC camp

Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 2:57 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation revealed Thursday the selection camp roster of players who will compete for spots in the upcoming 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden.

Sweden earned a silver medal at the 2013 WJC after a 3-1 loss to the United States in the gold-medal game in Ufa, Russia in January. The country's dramatic 1-0 overtime victory against Russia in the 2012 WJC gold-medal game put an end to 30 years of championship futility in the event.

While Sweden missed its chance to become the first country since Canada (2005-2009) to win back-to-back gold medals, the players and coaching staff are looking forward to hosting the event this year.

Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg will take 26 players to training camp from Dec. 16-23 in Ängelholm, Sweden, before announcing its 22-man tournament roster.

Sabres' Grigorenko to join Russia for World Juniors

Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 11:07 AM / Prospects

Buffalo Sabres forward Mikhail Grigorenko will be allowed to play for Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The Sabres announced Thursday that Grigorenko would leave for Russia on Sunday.

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation on Tuesday had released a list of 29 players for a selection camp to be held Dec. 9-20 in Novogorsk, Russia, but Grigorenko's name was not on it.

Grigorenko, chosen No. 12 by the Sabres in 2012 NHL Draft, has played in the previous two WJC tournaments. He helped his country to a silver medal in 2012 after totaling two goals and five points in six games and a bronze in 2013 with two goals and six points in seven games.

The 19-year-old center had two goals and three points in 18 games for the Sabres this season. He has three goals and eight points in 43 NHL games.

Ekblad proving to be an exceptional talent

Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad believes it isn't easy finding a player who takes great pride in a strong defensive game in this day and age of high-octane offense.

So he wants NHL scouts and general managers to know not only can he bring that style of game, but his versatility on the back end has also enabled him to expand his hockey repertoire.

"I think GMs are also looking for a guy who will jump into the rush and score goals, so versatility is a big thing," Ekblad told "I'm sure that's what they look for; every so often you have to throw your weight around too. But obviously being steady and knowing your position is important."

Panthers' Barkov won't play in World Juniors

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 3:13 PM / Prospects

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov will remain in the NHL rather than play for Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Barkov, who has played in the tournament the past two years, will not be released by the Panthers, the team that selected him with the second pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.

"There's no way he's going anywhere but here," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald. "We have to let him grow. He's a big part of our future and our present."

Barkov has four goals and six assists in 28 games this season, and he's fourth among rookie forwards with an average ice time of 16:55 per game.

Versatility key as U.S. selects WJC camp roster

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 2:47 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When the USA Hockey staff went about picking the roster for its selection camp for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, one of the buzzwords was versatility.

"It's important to show that you're a versatile player, and on this roster you're going to see a lot of guys who can play a lot of roles with the team," said Jim Johannson, general manager of the U.S. WJC team and USA Hockey assistant executive director for hockey operations. "That's always helpful in short tournaments and not knowing injures and all those things."

Although there isn't a proven dynamic performer among the 26 players invited to the camp, which will run Dec. 15-18 at the University of Minnesota, Johansson and coach Don Lucia believe the seeds are in place for a strong showing when the WJC starts Dec. 26 in Malmo, Sweden.

Czech Republic's Faksa back for third shot at WJC

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 11:46 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Forward Radek Faksa, a 2012 first-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars, highlights this year's Czech Republic National Junior Team selection camp roster that will determine the team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, later this month.

The selection camp will take place in Rokycany, Czech Republic, on Dec. 13. Miroslav Prerost will coach the team.

Faksa, selected No. 13 by the Stars in 2012, will be seeking a third straight appearance at the WJC. He has two goals and four points in 12 games at the tournament; the Czechs have finished fifth the past two years.

Faksa has 12 goals and 20 points in 25 games for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League this season, his third in North America.

U.S. selection camp features three '13 gold medalists

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 10:10 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Bolstered by four first-round NHL draft picks, three returning players and two 2014 NHL Draft-eligible prospects, USA Hockey on Wednesday announced the 26 players invited to the selection camp for the team that will comprise the U.S. National Junior Team that will play in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden later this month.

The United States selection camp will take place Dec. 15-18 in Minneapolis. It will include five practices at Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota as well as a pre-tournament game at Minnesota State University on Dec. 17. When training in Minneapolis is complete, the team will travel to Angelholm, Sweden, to continue the evaluation process from Dec. 19-23.

The final 22-player tournament roster will be announced Dec. 23.

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