On Thursday morning, there is a chance all five Flames prospects named to pre-tournament rosters will hit the ice in 2013 World Junior Championship exhibition tilts, giving fans their first glimpse of what to expect when the tournament kicks off on Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia.
Tyler Wotherspoon and Team Canada face off against Markus Granlund and Team Finland at 7:30 AM MT with the game being broadcast on TSN.
As per TSN, Wotherspoon will be paired up with Edmonton Oil Kings blueliner Griffin Reinhart in Canada's third defensive pairing while Granlund will center Finland's top line with Miikka Salomäki and Joel Armia.
This is a great opportunity for the Canadian coaching staff to get a feel for how Wotherspoon will perform on the bigger ice surface as well as well as give the 19 year-old time to gel with Reinhart.
Granlund has struggled to produce offensively at times this year with HIFK Helsinki but given his prior experience in the tournament and playing for his country at other international events, he will likely be asked to play a big role for Finland throughout the World Junior Championship.
TSN posted the projected lineups for both Canada and Finland earlier today:
CANADA'S PROJECTED LINES, PAIRINGS & GOALTENDERS:
Ty Rattie - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Mark Scheifele
Jonathan Drouin - Ryan Strome - Brett Ritchie
Charles Hudon - Boone Jenner - JC Lipon
Anthony Camara - Phillip Danault - Nathan MacKinnon
Morgan Rielly - Dougie Hamilton
Josh Harrington - Xavier Ouellet
Tyler Wotherspoon - Griffin Reinhart
*Jonathan Huberdeau will not play in Thursday's game as he is serving the final game of his QMJHL suspension.
FINLAND'S PROJECTED LINES, PAIRINGS & GOALTENDERS:
Miikka Salomäki - Markus Granlund - Joel Armia
Teuvo Teräväinen - Miro Aaltonen - Juuso Ikonen
Thomas Nykopp - Robert Leino - Ville Järveläinen
Matti Lamberg - Saku Salminen - Markus Hännikäinen
Olli Määttä - Mikko Vainonen
Juuso Riikola - Juuso Vainio
Petteri Lindbohm - Esa Lindell
Henri Auvinen - Joonas Valkonen
Team USA will take on Team Sweden at 10:30 AM MT on TSN. Johnny Gaudreau, Jon Gillies and Patrick Sieloff were invited to USA Hockey's training camp in Tarrytown, NY this week but it has not been confirmed if all three of them will play in tomorrow's game.
It is very likely Sieloff will suit up against Sweden as he's battling hard to land a spot on the American blueline. He's a physical player who has made a statement in his first season in the OHL with punishing hits like THIS. If the coaching staff want to add a gritty, shutdown element to their defensive corps, Sieloff brings just that.
The 18 year-old's most recent international experience was the 2012 U18 World Championship where he helped the US win gold. The Americans allowed a mere four goals in the entire tournament, thanks in large part to Sieloff and his defensive partner Jacob Trouba's ability to shut down the opposition's top lines.
The American's last set of lines from training camp saw Gaudreau on the top line with JT Miller and Rocco Grimaldi. Miller, a big-bodied pivot who can really open up ice for his linemates, seemed to be a great fit with the diminutive wingers. The coaching staff may want to see them in action to see if they want to move forward with the line when the tournament starts.
John Gibson is going to be the American starting goaltender so 18 year-old Gillies will be looking to beat out Garret Sparks for the backup position.
*Both games tomorrow will have encore presentations. The Canada-Finland tilt airs again at 5:30 PM MT on TSN while the USA-Sweden game is on at 10:00 PM MT on TSN2.