Four Colorado Avalanche prospects have been selected to represent their countries in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. Forward Sampo Ranta (Finland), defensemen Bowen Byram (Canada) and Danila Zhuravlyov (Russia), and goaltender Justus Annunen (Finland) will all compete for their respective nations at the under-20 tournament in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, from Dec. 26, 2019 to Jan. 5, 2020.
Team Finland, the defending champions of the tournament, will have two members of the Avalanche's 2018 NHL Draft class in forward Sampo Ranta and goaltender Justus Annunen.
Annunen, who was picked in the third round (64th overall) in 2018, is 11-0-2 this year with a .947 save percentage, 1.26 goals-against average, five shutouts and two assists for Karpat in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland.
Ranta, also selected by Colorado in the third round (78th overall) in 2018, is in his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota. The 19-year-old has totaled 11 points (seven goals, four assists) tied for the team lead. At the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase, the Naantali, Finland, native finished the camp tied for second overall in scoring with six points (four goals, two assists) in five games.
Finland's Preliminary Round Schedule
Dec. 26 vs. Sweden
Dec. 28 vs. Slovakia
Dec. 29 vs. Kazakhstan
Dec. 31 vs. Switzerland
Bowen Byram, 18, will be representing Canada at the World Junior Championship for the first time. Selected in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Cranbrook, British Columbia, native is playing this season with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
He has totaled 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 27 games so far. In the 2019 WHL Playoffs, the blueliner recorded 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 22 contests, becoming the first defenseman in league history to lead the WHL in playoff scoring.
Canada's Preliminary Round Schedule
Dec. 26 vs. United States
Dec. 28 vs. Russia
Dec. 30 vs. Germany
Dec. 31 vs. Czech Republic
Defenseman Danila Zhuravlyov, Colorado's fifth-round selection (146th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft, will be heading to his second straight World Juniors after registering one assist in seven games to help Russia capture the bronze medal last year. The 19-year-old has played all season with AK Bars Kazan in the Kontinental Hockey League. The Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, native has totaled eight points (one goal, seven assists) and a plus-5 rating through 30 outings this year.
Russia's Preliminary Round Schedule
Dec. 26 vs. Czech Republic
Dec. 28 vs. Canada
Dec. 29 vs. United States
Dec. 31 vs. Germany