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World Juniors

World Junior Summer Showcase first step for U.S. to pick 2022 WJC roster

Sanderson, Luke Hughes among 44 players to practice, play games against Sweden, Finland

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

The United States' quest to win the IIHF World Junior Championship for the second straight time begins at the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, from July 24-31.

The event will feature practices and games against Sweden and Finland. It's the first step in picking the rosters for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

The United States will have 44 players at the camp, including five returnees from the 2021 WJC, as well as coach Nate Leaman and his staff. The U.S. defeated Canada 2-0 in the championship game of the 2021 WJC at Rogers Arena in Edmonton.

Defensemen Jake Sanderson (Ottawa Senators), Tyler Kleven (Ottawa Senators) and Brock Faber (Los Angeles Kings) combined for eight assists and a plus-18 rating at the tournament. Forwards Brett Berard (New York Rangers) and Landon Slaggert (Chicago Blackhawks) also will be at the camp. Forward Matthew Beniers (2021 NHL Draft eligible), who was part of 2021 WJC victory, was invited but will not attend while he recuperates from a lower-body injury sustained during the 2021 IIHF World Championship last month.

"I think there's some good depth on the defense," Leaman said. "I think it's a little more of a smash-mouth group. I wouldn't call last year's team more of a high-end skill group because I thought we had a little bit of everything last year, but this is probably a group that might play in the trenches a little bit better."

Luke Hughes, No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2021 NHL Draft, is one of five players in Central Scouting's top 20 attending the camp. The defenseman with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, who is the younger brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, is joined by forward Chaz Lucius (No. 12) of the NTDP U-18 team, forward Matthew Coronato (No. 9) of Chicago of the United States Hockey League, forward Sasha Pastujov (No. 18) of the NTDP U-18 team and defenseman Shai Buium (No. 20) of Sioux City (USHL).

The first round is Friday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 will be Saturday (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, SN NOW).

Leaman said no roster cuts will be made during the eight-day camp.

"We'll have two teams of 22, so we're going to do plenty of evaluating," he said. "We may shift teams around since we may want to see guys with other guys on lines and different defense pairs. There will be some fine-tuning as the camp goes along, but as we've learned, the summer evaluation isn't always completely accurate for building your team in the winter."

The biggest question for Leaman will be in goal. Spencer Knight went 5-1 with a 1.63 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and three shutouts in six games at the 2020 WJC but now is in the NHL with the Florida Panthers. The four goalies at the Summer Showcase are Aidan Campbell (2021 draft eligible), Drew Commesso (Chicago Blackhawks), Kaidan Mbereko (2021 draft eligible) and Tucker Tynan (2021 draft eligible).

Sweden may have the best goalie at the Summer Showcase and the favorite to be the top goalie of the WJC in Jesper Wallstedt, who is No. 1 in Central Scouting's final ranking of International goalies for the 2021 Draft.

Wallstedt had a 2.40 GAA and .923 save percentage in two games for fifth-place Sweden at the 2021 WJC. He had a 2.23 GAA, .908 save percentage and two shutouts in 22 games for Lulea of the Swedish Hockey League this season.

"I think we will have a good two-way team that works hard all over the ice," Sweden coach Tomas Monten said. "And with great goaltending on the back end."

Sweden will bring three goalies, eight defensemen and 14 forwards to the Summer Showcase. Monten said he will rotate the lineup, playing six defensemen and 12 forwards each game.

"We don't want anyone playing six games in 10 days in July as a start to the season," he said.

Finland will bring three goalies, 10 defensemen and 15 forwards. There are 11 returning players from the third-place team at the 2021 WJC, including goalie Joel Blomqvist (Pittsburgh Penguins), defenseman Topi Niemela (Toronto Maple Leafs) and forward Brad Lambert (2022 draft eligible).

Niemela scored eight points (two goals, six assists) and took 18 shots on goal in seven games; Lambert had four points (one goal, three assists) and 15 shots on goal. Blomqvist didn't play in any games.





GOALIES: Aidan Campbell, Erie, OHL (2021 draft eligible); Drew Commesso, Boston University, NCAA (Chicago Blackhawks); Kaidan Mbereko, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Tucker Tynan, Niagara, OHL (2021 draft eligible)

DEFENSEMEN: Sean Behrens, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Shai Buium, Sioux City, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Brock Faber, Minnesota, NCAA (Los Angeles Kings); Alex Gagne, Muskegon, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Aidan Hreschuk, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Luke Hughes, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Wyatt Kaiser, Minnesota Duluth, NCAA (Chicago Blackhawks); Connor Kelley, Minnesota Duluth, NCAA (2021 draft eligible); Tyler Kleven, North Dakota, NCAA (Ottawa Senators); Ian Moore, Chicago, USHL (Anaheim Ducks); Scott Morrow, Shattuck-St. Mary's, HIGH-MN (2021 draft eligible); Jack Peart, Grand Rapids, HIGH-MN (2021 draft eligible); Eamon Powell, Boston College, NCAA (Tampa Bay Lightning); Jake Sanderson, North Dakota, NCAA (Ottawa Senators); Jacob Truscott, Michigan, NCAA (Vancouver Canucks); Ryan Ufko, Chicago, USHL (2021 draft eligible)

FORWARDS: Carson Bantle, Michigan Tech, NCAA (Arizona Coyotes); Brett Berard, Providence, NCAA (New York Rangers); Cameron Berg, Muskegon, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Thomas Bordeleau, Michigan, NCAA (San Jose Sharks); Tyler Boucher, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Tristan Broz, Fargo, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Logan Cooley, USA U-18, NTDP (2022 draft eligible); Matthew Coronato, Chicago, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Tanner Dickinson, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (St. Louis Blues); Josh Doan, Chicago, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Dylan Duke, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Cross Hanas, Portland, WHL (Detroit Red Wings); Matthew Knies, Tri-City, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Chaz Lucius, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Carter Mazur, Tri-City, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Declan McDonnell, Syracuse, AHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Sasha Pastujov, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Dylan Peterson, Boston University, NCAA (St. Louis Blues); Mackie Samoskevich, Chicago, USHL (2021 draft eligible); Redmond Savage, USA U-18, NTDP (2021 draft eligible); Landon Slaggert, Notre Dame, NCAA (Chicago Blackhawks); Ty Smilanic, Quinnipiac, NCAA (Florida Panthers); Luke Tuch, Boston University, NCAA (Montreal Canadiens); Chase Yoder, Providence, NCAA (Pittsburgh Penguins)



GOALIES: Calle Clang, Rogle, SWE (Pittsburgh Penguins); Carl Lindbom, Djurgarden Jr., SWE-JR (2021 draft eligible); Jesper Wallstedt, Lulea, SWE (2021 draft eligible)

DEFENSEMEN: Emil Andrae, HV 71, SWE (Philadelphia Flyers); Simon Edvinsson, Frolunda Jr., SWE-JR (2021 eligible); Mans Forsfjall, Skelleftea, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Helge Grans, Ontario, AHL (Los Angeles Kings); Leo Loof, Ilves, FIN (St. Louis Blues); Joel Nystrom, Farjestad, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Anton Olsson, Malmo, SWE (2021 draft eligible); William Wallinder, Rogle, SWE (Detroit Red Wings)

FORWARDS: William Eklund, Djurgarden, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Elliot Ekmark, Linkoping, SWE (Florida Panthers); Isak Garfve, Mora, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Jeremias Lindewall, Modo, SWE-2 (Edmonton Oilers); Alexander Ljungkrantz, Brynas, SWE (New York Islanders); Daniel Ljungman, Linkoping, SWE (Dallas Stars); Theodor Niederbach, Frolunda, SWE (Detroit Red Wings); Zion Nybeck, HV 71, SWE (Carolina Hurricanes); Oskar Olausson, HV 71, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Simon Robertsson, Skelleftea, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Isak Rosen, Leksand, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Ake Stakkestad, Karlskoga, SWE-2 (2021 draft eligible); Victor Stjernborg, Vaxjo, SWE (2021 draft eligible); Daniel Torgersson, Frolunda, SWE (Winnipeg Jets)



GOALIES: Joel Blomqvist, Karpat, FIN (Pittsburgh Penguins); Juho Markkanen, SaiPa, FIN (Los Angeles Kings); Leevi Merilainen, Karpat, FIN (Ottawa Senators)

DEFENSEMEN: Karri Aho, Ilves, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Valtteri Koskela, JYP, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Rami Maatta, Assat, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Topi Niemela, Karpat, FIN (Toronto Maple Leafs); Ville Ottavainen, JYP, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Kasper Puutio, KalPa, FIN (Florida Panthers); Ruben Rafkin, TPS, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Matias Rajaniemi, Pelicans, FIN (New York Islanders); Christoffer Sedoff, SaiPa, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Eemil Viro, TPS, FIN (Detroit Red Wings)

FORWARDS: Samuel Helenius, JYP, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Roni Hirvonen, HIFK, FIN (Toronto Maple Leafs); Aatu Jamsen, Pelicans, FIN (Los Angeles Kings); Roby Jarventie, Belleville, AHL (Ottawa Senators); Oliver Kapanen, KalPa, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Ville Koivunen, Karpat, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Brad Lambert, JYP, FIN (2022 draft eligible); Eetu Liukas, TPS, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Juuso Maenpaa, KalPa, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Aatu Raty, Karpat, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Iivari Sakkinen, Lukko Jr., FIN-JR (2021 draft eligible); Samu Salminen, Jokerit Jr., FIN-JR (2021 draft eligible); Kasper Simontaival, KalPa (Los Angeles Kings); Oliver Suni, Lukko, FIN (2021 draft eligible); Samu Tuomaala, Karpat, FIN (2021 draft eligible)


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