It’s certainly been a busy summer for the Penguins prospects. After attending development camp here in Pittsburgh last month, many of them are now currently representing their countries at summer evaluation camps that will help determine rosters for the 2013 World Junior Championship (Dec. 29 to Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia).
Here’s who’s on the ice right now:
Defenseman Scott Harrington and forward Anton Zlobin will be participating in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge, beginning today in Yaroslavl, Russia.
Harrington, the Penguins’ second-round pick (54th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, is looking to represent Team Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship as this Challenge will help select their roster for that tournament. He is one of seven players on Team Canada’s Challenge roster that earned a bronze medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
Zlobin, who was selected by Pittsburgh in the sixth round (173rd overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, is one of 29 players on Russia’s roster. The last time Zlobin represented his country was at the 2010 World Under-17 Championships, where he posted 10 points (2G-8A) in six games.
The teams will meet twice in Russia on Thursday and Friday before playing two more contests in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Aug. 13-14. (For more information on the Canada-Russia Challenge, click here).
While their fellow prospects Harrington and Zlobin are overseas, Olli Maatta and Oskar Sundqvist are here in the States.
The players are participating in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp for their respective countries – Maatta for Finland, Sundqvist for Sweden.
Team Finland and Team Sweden are practicing and playing exhibition games against each other and the United States this week in Lake Placid, N.Y. The camp concludes Saturday, Aug. 11.
Maatta, who is serving as Finland's team captain this week, is looking to make his third World Junior Championship team, an impressive feat for a 17 year old (he turns 18 on Aug. 22). Though he was injured for most of the 2012 tournament – where Finland lost the bronze-medal game to Canada to finish fourth – in ’11, Maatta became the first 16 year old to play for Finland at the WJC since 1998.
He also represented Finland at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, scoring one goal and three assists in six games while being named one of Finland’s top-three players at the tournament.
Sundqvist is looking to make his first World Junior Championship roster for his native Sweden, who is the tournament’s defending champion after defeating Russia in overtime last year. The physical forward with a deft scoring touch is expected to spend the 2012-13 season with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League after spending the previous two seasons playing for their junior team.
In addition, Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato – a native of Downers Grove, Ill. – is serving as one of the camp assistant coaches.