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by Jason Lockhart / New York Islanders

By Jason Lockhart

The 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa is complete.

The Islanders had four prospects taking part in the Word Junior Championship––Blake Kessel (United States), Kirill Petrov (Russia), David Ullstrom (Sweden) and Jyri Niemi (Finland).

On Monday, Canada claimed its fifth straight Gold Medal with a 5-1 win over Silver-winning Sweden. Russia defeated Slovakia 5-2 in the Bronze Medal Game.

Niemi helped Finland avoid relegation by scoring a goal in a 3-1 victory over Germany on Sunday. The win gave the Finns a seventh-place finish and an automatic spot in the 2010 World Junior Championship. The United States finished the tournament with a 3-2 overtime win against the Czech Republic to claim fifth place.

Islanders Assistant GM/Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski shares his thoughts on the four Islanders prospects.

Name: Blake Kessel
Position: Defenseman
Team: New Hampshire (8-6-3, Hockey East 5-4-2)
League: Hockey East
Acquired: Islanders 2007 sixth-round draft pick (166th overall)
Stats to date: Games Played (17) Goals (2), Assists (3), Points (5), PIM (14)

Update: The United States has had back-to-back disappointing finishes at the World Juniors. After placing fourth in 2008, the United States salvaged fifth place with 3-2 overtime win versus the Czech Republic in 2009. Kessel, who saw limited ice time, finished the tournament with one assist, a +4 rating and four shots in six games.

Ryan's Take: "Blake was the ultimate team player for the USA. Despite seeing limited ice time, his attitude and professionalism was impeccable. He did have a handful of shifts in the games and demonstrated that he did not look out of place one bit. Hopefully, the experience was positive for Blake and he can take something back to UNH for the stretch run."

Name: Jyri Niemi
Position: Defenseman
Team: Saskatoon (25-10-2-0)^
League: WHL
Acquired: Islanders 2008 third-round draft pick (72nd overall)
Stats to date: Games Played (29), Goals (2), Assists (9), Points (11), PIM (32)

Update: Niemi scored a 5-on-3 power play goal in the third period against the Germans on Sunday. The win clinches seventh place for the Finns, who are guaranteed a spot in the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan. Niemi finished first among Finnish defensemen with two goals on the tournament. His three points, were second best on the team's defense. He also finished with a team-high +3 rating and recorded 21 shots on goal in six contests---the most by any defenseman on Finland.

Ryan's Take: "Jyri had to battle through the relegation round to remain in the top group for next year's WJC. He was able to display his offense, scoring a couple of goals at key times and played a strong two-way game."

Name: Kirill Petrov
Position: Right Wing
Team: AK Bars (25-7-4)
League: KHL
Acquired: Islanders 2008 third-round draft pick (73rd overall)
Stats to date: Games Played (4), Goals (1), Assists (0), Points (1), PIM (2)

Update: For the second straight year, the Russians won the Bronze. They did so by knocking off a feisty Slovakian team. Petrov ended the tournament with no points and four shots in seven games.
Ryan's Take: "Kirill did not see much in the way of quality ice as the games went on. This would be a product of him being injured in the first half of the season. Most importantly, Kirill had an experience of playing in front of an NHL-type crowd and seeing his team have success. This can only help his feeling of what it will be like to be an NHLer and help him in next year's tournament in Saskatoon."

Name: David Ullstrom
Position: Center/Left Wing
Team: HV-71 (11-9-13)
League: Elite (SWE)
Acquired: Islanders 2008 fourth-round draft pick (102nd overall)
Stats to date: Games Played (7), Goals (0), Assists (1), Points (1), PIM (2)

Update: The Swedes took home Silver for the second year in a row, losing to Canada 5-1 in the final. Ullstrom tied for third on the team with two goals and added two assists in six games. Ullstrom recorded 12 shots and finished with a +4 rating.

Ryan's Take: "David had a good tournament for Sweden. He centered an offensive third line, but was counted on to be responsible at both ends of the ice, which he was. I am sure he has a bitter taste in his mouth winning silver, but he should be proud of his effort in Ottawa."

^ In the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, the points system is as follows: Wins (2 pts.)-Losses (0 pts.)-OT Losses (1 pt.)-Shootout Losses (1 pt.).

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