RALEIGH, NC - Four Carolina Hurricanes prospects have been named to the final rosters for the 2021 World Junior Championship, to be held in Edmonton from Dec. 25, 2020 through Jan. 5, 2021. Forward Ryan Suzuki will represent Canada, forward Vasiliy Ponomarev will skate for Russia and forwards Noel Gunler and Zion Nybeck will play for Sweden at the prestigious tournament.
Suzuki, 19, previously represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. The London, Ont., native, was selected by Carolina in the first round, 28th overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft, and tallied 58 points (18g, 40a) in 44 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) games with Barrie and Saginaw in 2018-29.
Ponomarev, 18, has represented Russia at a number of international tournaments, including the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he led the team with eight points (4g, 4a) in six games as Russia captured the gold medal. Ponomarev also helped Russia earn gold at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. The Moscow native has registered nine points (5g, 4a) in nine games with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this season, after notching 49 points (18g, 31a) in 57 games in 2019-20. Ponomarev was selected by Carolina in the second round, 53rd overall, of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Gunler, 19, has appeared in 18 Swedish Hockey League (SHL) games this season with Lulea and Brynas, totaling six points (4g, 2a). The Lulea, Sweden, native earned 13 points (4g, 9a) in 45 games with his hometown team in 2019-20, ranking tied for sixth among SHL rookies in goals and points. Carolina selected Gunler in the second round, 41st overall, during the 2020 NHL Draft.
Nybeck, 18, recorded five points (2g, 3a) in seven games at the 2019 Under-18 World Championship, helping host Sweden win the gold medal. The Alvesta, Sweden, native has recorded two assists in 18 games with HV71 (SHL) this season, as well as eight points (5g, 3a) in four games with HV71's junior squad. In 2019-20, Nybeck scored one goal in 15 games with HV71 (SHL) and registered 66 points (27g, 39a) in 42 games with HV71's junior team, leading Sweden's top junior league (SuperElit) in points and setting the league record for assists and points by a player younger than 18 years old. Carolina selected Nybeck in the fourth round, 115th overall, during the 2020 NHL Draft.