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Lafreniere to play for Canada at World Junior Summer Showcase

Projected No. 1 pick of 2020 Draft to participate in event featuring U.S., Sweden, Finland

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, will be among the 38 players Canada has at the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, from July 26-Aug. 3.

The event will feature practices and games between the United States, Canada, Sweden and Finland. It's the first step in picking rosters for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Czech Republic from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

Lafreniere, a left wing with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, had one goal in five games for Canada at the 2019 WJC. The 17-year-old forward (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) had 105 points (37 goals, 68 assists) in 61 games and was the most valuable player in the QMJHL and the player of the year in the Canadian Hockey League last season.

 

[RELATED: WJSS games to be broadcast on NHL Network]

 

"He's an impactful player at key times," Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen said. "Those top players, when there's opportunities to be a difference-maker, some players can do it, and that's what really separates him. I've seen him in key situations, he's able to step up and make a play and be a difference-maker, and that's what excites us. There's lots of good players, but there's very few that have that ability, and I really believe he has that ability."

Lafreniere is one of three players with Canada to receive an A rating from NHL Central Scouting on its North American players to watch list for the 2020 draft, joining defensemen Justin Barron of Halifax in the QMJHL and Braden Schneider of Brandon in the Western Hockey League.

Canada will have five goalies at the camp: Colten Ellis (St. Louis Blues), Zachary Emond (San Jose Sharks), Alexis Gravel (Chicago Blackhawks), Hunter Jones (Minnesota Wild) and Olivier Rodrigue (Edmonton Oilers). Rodrigue took part in the 2019 WJSS, and McEwen said that could give him an advantage on the competition.

"I think he would have a bit of a head start because of his play within our program in the short-term events, with the [2017 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and 2018 IIHF World Under-18 Championship]," McEwen said. "I thought he played really well in both those events. That experience and that success probably gives him the lead on that position."

The United States' situation in goal is more settled, with Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers), its third goalie at the 2019 WJC, the favorite to be the tournament starter in 2020.

"He's certainly going to be a guy that we're going to probably lean on," U.S. coach Scott Sandelin said. "I think it was good for him to be there (at the 2019 WJC) and see the tournament and go through that so when his turn comes around, he's got that in the back of his head. Those experiences are good even though he didn't play."

Knight will be one of six players at the camp who helped the United States win the silver medal at the 2019 WJC, along with defensemen K'Andre Miller (New York Rangers) and Mattias Samuelsson (Buffalo Sabres), and forwards Jack Drury (Carolina Hurricanes), Joel Farabee (Philadelphia Flyers) and Oliver Wahlstrom (New York Islanders). Jack Hughes, selected by the New Jersey Devils with the No. 1 pick of the 2019 Draft, also played in the 2019 WJC but was not invited to the camp because it's expected he'll be in the NHL this season.

The United States will try to extend its medal streak to five tournaments; it won gold in 2017), silver in 2019 and and bronze in 2016 and 2018. Prior to its current streak, the United States had won consecutive WJC medals once, in 2010 (gold) and 2011 (bronze).

"That's something that's going to be talked about," Sandelin said. "Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win gold. We want to keep that (streak) going. ... That's something we're going to get across to guys: This is our expectation and this is our goal and the process is going to start next week."

Finland, which won the 2019 WJC, will have four players at the camp from that team, including center Anton Lundell (6-foot, 172), who received an A rating on Central Scouting's International players to watch list. The 17-year-old had 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 38 games with HIFK in Liiga, Finland's top league, last season.

"Lundell is a smart, cool, intelligent playmaker and an outstanding passer with excellent vision and understanding of the game," Central Scouting's European director Goran Stubb said. "Well-balanced skater, hard to knock off his skates. Protects the puck extremely well and outstanding finding a teammate in traffic. Excellent competitor, very focused."

Kaapo Kakko, who scored the winning goal against the United States in the gold-medal game, was not invited to the camp because the forward, selected by the Rangers with the No. 2 pick of the 2019 Draft, is expected to be in the NHL this season.

Sweden, which finished fifth at the 2019 WJC, will have two A-rated players at the WJSS, 17-year-old forwards Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond.

Holtz (5-11, 192) scored 30 goals in 38 games with Djurgardens in Sweden's junior league, the most ever by a player 17 or younger in the league.

"Holtz is a wing with a great selection of shots, a true sniper with a quick release," Stubb said. "Also smart, intelligent on the ice. Not only a scorer but also a playmaker who finds teammates with smart passes."

Raymond (5-11, 170) had 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists) in 37 games with Frolunda in Sweden's junior league and capped a hat trick with an overtime goal for Sweden in its 4-3 win against Russia in the gold-medal game of the 2019 World Under-18 Championship.

"Raymond is an explosive skater with smooth hands and a nose for the net," Stubb said. "Exceptional hockey sense, knows where to be and when. Plays with energy and intensity, battles hard for every puck. He's an excellent, effective forechecker with puck-stealing ability. Effective two-way player and good penalty killer. An energy player who makes things happen."

 

WORLD JUNIOR SELECTION CAMP ROSTERS

 

UNITED STATES

GOALIES: Drew DeRidder, Michigan State, BIG10 (2020 draft eligible); Spencer Knight, Boston College, HE, (Florida Panthers); Isaiah Saville, Nebraska-Omaha, NCHC (Vegas Golden Knights); Dustin Wolf, Everett, WHL (Calgary Flames)

DEFENSEMEN: Stanislav Demin, Denver, NCHC (Vegas Golden Knights); Ty Emberson, Wisconsin, BIG10 (Arizona Coyotes); Jordan Harris, Northeastern, HE (Montreal Canadiens); Drew Helleson, Boston College, HE (Colorado Avalanche); Ryan Johnson, Sioux Falls, USHL (Buffalo Sabres); Zachary Jones, Tri-City, USHL (New York Rangers); Christian Krygier, Michigan State, BIG10 (New York Islanders); Jackson LaCombe, Minnesota, BIG10 (Anaheim Ducks); Case McCarthy, Boston University, HE (New Jersey Devils); K'Andre Miller, Wisconsin, BIG10 (New York Rangers); *Alec Regula, London, OHL (Detroit Red Wings); Mattias Samuelsson, Western Michigan, NCHC (Buffalo Sabres); Spencer Stastney, Notre Dame, BIG10 (Nashville Predators); *Jayden Struble, Victoria, BCHL (Montreal Canadiens); Alex Vlasic, Boston University, HE (Chicago Blackhawks); Marshall Warren, Boston College, HE (Minnesota Wild); Bode Wilde, Saginaw, OHL (New York Islanders); Cameron York, Michigan, BIG10 (Philadelphia Flyers)

FORWARDS: John Beecher, Michigan, BIG10 (Boston Bruins); Matthew Boldy, Boston College, HE (Minnesota Wild); Bobby Brink, Denver, NCHC (Philadelphia Flyers); Cole Caufield, Wisconsin, BIG10 (Montreal Canadiens); Jack Drury, Harvard, ECAC (Carolina Hurricanes); Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers; John Farinacci, Harvard, ECAC (Arizona Coyotes); Parker Ford, Providence, HE (2020 draft eligible); Jonathan Gruden, London, OHL (Ottawa Senators); Curtis Hall, Yale, ECAC (Boston Bruins); Trevor Janicke, Notre Dame, BIG10 (Anaheim Ducks); Blade Jenkins, Saginaw, OHL (New York Islanders); Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton, OHL (Los Angeles Kings); Demetrios Koumontzis, Arizona State, NCAA (Calgary Flames); Owen Lindmark, Wisconsin, BIG10 (Florida Panthers); Luke Loheit, Minnesota-Duluth, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); *Robert Mastrosimone, Boston University, HE (Detroit Red Wings);Blake McLaughlin, Minnesota, BIG10 (Anaheim Ducks); Shane Pinto, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Jacob Pivonka, Notre Dame, BIG10 (New York Islanders); Nicholas Robertson, Peterborough, OHL (Toronto Maple Leafs); Alex Turcotte, Wisconsin, BIG10 (Los Angeles Kings); Luke Toporowski, Spokane, WHL (2020 draft eligible); Oliver Wahlstrom, New York Islanders; Trevor Zegras, Boston University, HE (Anaheim Ducks)

 

CANADA

GOALIES: Colten Ellis, Rimouski, QMJHL (St. Louis Blues); Zachary Emond, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL (San Jose Sharks); Alexis Gravel, Halifax, QMJHL (Chicago Blackhawks); Hunter Jones, Peterborough, OHL (Minnesota Wild); Olivier Rodrigue, Moncton, QMJHL (Edmonton Oilers)

DEFENSEMEN: Calen Addison, Lethbridge, WHL (Pittsburgh Penguins); Kevin Bahl, Ottawa, OHL (Arizona Coyotes); Justin Barron, Halifax, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible); Jacob Bernard-Docker, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Bowen Byram, Vancouver, WHL (Colorado Avalanche); Declan Chisholm, Peterborough, OHL (Winnipeg Jets); Peter Diliberatore, Quinnipiac, ECAC, (Vegas Golden Knights); **Noah Dobson, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL (New York Islanders);Thomas Harley, Mississauga, OHL (Dallas Stars); **Jared McIsaac, Halifax, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings); Braden Schneider, Brandon, WHL (2020 draft eligible); **Ty Smith, Spokane, WHL (New Jersey Devils); Jonathan Tychonick, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Jett Woo, Calgary, WHL (Vancouver Canucks)

FORWARDS: Luka Burzan, Brandon, WHL (Colorado Avalanche); *Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge, WHL (Buffalo Sabres);Kirby Dach, Saskatoon, WHL (Chicago Blackhawks); Riley Damiani, Kitchener, OHL (Dallas Stars); **Ty Dellandrea, Flint, OHL (Dallas Stars); Aidan Dudas, Owen Sound, OHL (Los Angeles Kings); Carson Focht, Calgary, WHL (Vancouver Canucks); **Cole Fonstad, Prince Albert, WHL (Montreal Canadiens); Nolan Foote, Kelowna, WHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Gabriel Fortier, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Liam Foudy, London, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets);Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Halifax, QMJHL (Anaheim Ducks);**Barrett Hayton, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Arizona Coyotes);*Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg, WHL (Vegas Golden Knights);Mathias Laferriere, Cape Breton, QMJHL (St. Louis Blues); Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible);Raphael Lavoie, Halifax, QMJHL (Edmonton Oilers); Jack McBain, Boston College, HE (Minnesota Wild); Connor McMichael, London, OHL (Washington Capitals); Allan McShane, Oshawa, OHL (Montreal Canadiens); Alex Newhook, Boston College, HE (Colorado Avalanche); Serron Noel, Oshawa, OHL (Florida Panthers); Jamison Rees, Sarnia, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Ryan Suzuki, Barrie, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Akil Thomas, Niagara, OHL (Los Angeles Kings);Philip Tomasino, Niagara, OHL (Nashville Predators); Joseph Veleno, Drummondville, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings)

 

SWEDEN

GOALIES: Jesper Eliasson, Almtuna, SWE-2 (Detroit Red wings); Olof Lindbom, Mora, SWE-2 (New York Rangers); Erik Portillo, Dubuque, USHL (Buffalo Sabres)

DEFENSEMEN: Axel Andersson, Sodertalje, SWE-2 (Boston Bruins); Jakob Bondesson, Rogle, SHL (2019 draft eligible); Tobias Bjornfot, Djurgarden, SWE (Los Angeles Kings); Philip Broberg, Skelleftea, SWE (Edmonton Oilers); Linus Cronholm, Malmo, SWE (Buffalo Sabres); Adam Ginning, Linkoping, SWE (Philadelphia Flyers); Filip Johansson, Leksand, SWE (Minnesota Wild); Nils Lundkvist, Lulea, SWE (New York Rangers); **Mattias Norlinder, Modo, SWE-2 (Montreal Canadiens); **Victor Soderstrom, Brynas, SHL (Arizona Coyotes)

FORWARDS: Oscar Back, Farjestad, SWE (Dallas Stars);Jonatan Berggren, Skelleftea, SWE (Detroit Red Wings); Filip Cederqvist, Vaxjo, SWE (Buffalo Sabres); Albin Eriksson, Skelleftea, SWE (Dallas Stars); Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda, SWE (Los Angeles Kings); David Gustafsson, HV 71, SWE (Winnipeg Jets); Filip Hallander, Lulea, SWE (Pittsburgh Penguins); Karl Henriksson, Frolunda, SWE (New York Rangers); **Nils Hoglander, Rogle, SWE (Vancouver Canucks); Alexander Holtz, Djurgarden Jr., SWE-JR (2020 draft eligible); Marcus Karlberg, Leksand, SWE (Columbus Blue Jackets); Jacob Olofsson, Skelleftea, SWE (Montreal Canadiens); Nikola Pasic, Karlskoga, SWE-2 (New Jersey Devils); Lucas Raymond, Frolunda, SWE (2020 draft eligible); Lukas Wernblom, Modo, SWE-2 (2020 draft eligible)

 

FINLAND

GOALIES: Justus Annunen, Karpat, FIN (Colorado Avalanche); Jasper Patrikainen, Pelicans, FIN (2020 draft eligible)

DEFENSEMEN: Santeri Airola, Kettera, FIN-2 (Pittsburgh Penguins); Ville Heinola, Lukko, FIN (Winnipeg Jets); Anttoni Honka, JYP, FIN (Carolina Hurricanes); Mikko Kokkonen, Jukurit, FIN (Toronto Maple Leafs); Kim Nousiainen, Kalpa, FIN (Los Angeles Kings); Peetro Seppala, Kookoo, FIN (2020 draft eligible); Lassi Thomson, Ilves, FIN (Ottawa Senators); Toni Utunen, Tappara, FIN (Vancouver Canucks)

FORWARDS: Eemil Erholtz, Sport, FIN (2020 draft eligible); Aleks Haatanen, Pelicans, FIN (2020 draft eligible); Lenni Killinen, Assat, FIN (Carolina Hurricanes); Otto Kivenmaki, Assat, FIN (Detroit Red Wings); Anton Lundell, HIFK, FIN (2020 draft eligible); Joonas Oden, Kookoo, FIN (2020 draft eligible);Patrik Puistola, Tappara, FIN (Carolina Hurricanes); Sampo Ranta, Minnesota, BIG10 (Colorado Avalanche); Aku Raty, Karpat, FIN (Arizona Coyotes); Antti Saarela, Ilves, FIN (Chicago Blackhawks); Samuel Salonen, Pelicans, FIN (2020 draft eligible); Patrik Siikanen, JYP, FIN (Edmonton Oilers); Kristian Tanus, Jukurit, FIN (2020 draft eligible)

* - injured
** - unable to participate

 

WORLD JUNIOR SUMMER SHOWCASE SCHEDULE

July 27

USA White vs. Finland, 1 p.m. ET
USA Blue vs. Sweden, 4 p.m. ET

July 28

USA Blue vs. Finland, 1 p.m. ET
USA White vs. Sweden, 4 p.m. ET

July 30

Canada vs. U.S., 4 p.m. ET

July 31

Canada vs. Finland, 1 p.m. ET (NHLN)
U.S. vs. Sweden, 4 p.m. ET (NHLN)

Aug. 2

Sweden vs. Canada, 1 p.m. ET (NHLN)
Finland vs. U.S., 4 p.m. ET (NHLN)

Aug. 3

Sweden vs. Finland, 1 p.m. ET (NHLN)
U.S. vs. Canada 4 p.m. ET (NHLN)

 

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