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World Juniors

World Junior Summer Showcase Day 1 notebook

U.S. doesn't plan to release any players until Thursday; goalie Knight looking for redemption

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- The United States does not plan to release any players from its roster for the World Junior Summer Showcase until Thursday.

"We want them to play to their ability; they have to kind of show us too what they can do," U.S. coach Scott Sandelin said. "We're trying to put together a team, and obviously this team is not going to be put together fully until December, but this is the start of that process, so it gives us an opportunity to put guys in positions and show us what they can do."

Sandelin said only a few players will be released at the event, which runs Friday through Aug. 3 and features practices and games between the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland at USA Hockey Arena. It's the first step in picking rosters for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

The United States' 44-player roster has been divided into two teams, USA Blue and USA White, and they opened the showcase with a scrimmage consisting of two 15-minute periods, one 20-minute power-play session broken into five-minute splits and then a five-man shootout.

Oliver Wahlstrom (New York Islanders), Nicholas Robertson (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Trevor Zegras (Anaheim Ducks) scored for USA White, which won the shootout. Joel Farabee (Philadelphia Flyers) and Luke Toporowski (2020 NHL Draft eligible) scored for USA Blue in the loss.

Farabee is one of six players at the showcase who helped the U.S. finish second at the 2019 WJC, along with goalie Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers), defensemen K'Andre Miller (New York Rangers) and Mattias Samuelsson (Buffalo Sabres), and forwards Jack Drury (Carolina Hurricanes) and Wahlstrom.

 

Sweden to keep all its players

Sweden coach Tomas Monten said he will not release any of the 25 players invited to the summer showcase.

Monten, Sweden's coach for the third straight year, said he will rotate his lineup, sitting two defensemen and two forwards in each of the five exhibition games. Sweden opens its schedule against USA Blue on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

"We look for chemistry among players since we're trying to find pairs," Monten said. "We look at how the players adapt to our systems and how they work together as a group on and off the ice."

Sweden has four first-round NHL Draft picks on its roster, all defensemen: Filip Johansson (2018 draft, No. 24, Minnesota Wild), Nils Lundkvist (2018, No. 28, New York Rangers), Philip Broberg (2019, No. 8, Edmonton Oilers) and Tobias Bjornfot (2019, No. 22, Los Angeles Kings).

 

Turcotte hopes to fast-track to NHL

Alex Turcotte is hoping to show enough as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin to be playing in the NHL sooner rather than later.

Turcotte (5-foot-11, 185 pounds), a center selected by the Kings with the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, was taken highest in the NHL Draft among U.S. players at the summer showcase. He'll play this season for Wisconsin, where he'll refine his skills under the tutelage of coach Tony Granato, a former NHL forward who played seven seasons for the Kings.

"Obviously, you want to play in the NHL as soon as possible, so I think it's up to me and how I perform this year at Wisconsin, and then we'll kind of see how that goes," Turcotte said. "I'm going to try my best to hopefully play in the NHL as soon as possible, but I'm not putting a timetable on it. It just depends on how I progress."

Turcotte was the second player chosen in the 2019 draft from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team after Jack Hughes was picked No. 1 by the New Jersey Devils. His Canadian Hockey League rights are held by Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League.

Video: Turcotte on chirping dad, Kings taking him at No. 5

 

Knight determined to make big impression

Knight learned plenty despite not playing a single minute as the third goalie for the U.S. at the 2019 WJC.

"I was a little disappointed at first not getting a chance to play; I think it's only natural," the 18-year-old said. "I wasn't sure how short my leash would be going into it and thought maybe I'd get a half of a game, but I'm not going to complain and start a ruckus about not playing ... even as third goalie."

On the depth chart behind Cayden Primeau (Montreal Canadiens) and Kyle Keyser (Boston Bruins), Knight was a spectator all seven games at the WJC.

He's determined to make a big impression this week as one of four U.S. goalies participating in the summer showcase, along with Drew DeRidder (2020 draft eligible), Isaiah Saville (Vegas Golden Knights) and Dustin Wolf (Calgary Flames).

"These tournaments are so short, and whether you play or not is not going to affect you five years down the road," Knight said. "It's about who's hot at that specific time, and [Primeau and Keyser] were having amazing years."

Knight of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team became the third U.S.-born goalie prospect in 10 years chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft when he was selected by the Panthers with the No. 13 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, joining Jack Campbell (2010 draft, No. 11, Dallas Stars) and Jake Oettinger (2017, No. 26, Stars, No. 26).

 

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