Habs Prospects Look Forward to World Juniors

The rosters aren’t finalized yet, but many of the countries participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships have released their preliminary rosters for “final camp”. In the past week approximately, the teams representing Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, and USA to name a few have trimmed their list of potential players before selecting a final roster. The 2016 World Juniors will take place in Helsinki, Finland from December 26th, 2015 until January 5th, 2016. As usual, the World Juniors will be played in two facilities. The main one ill be the Hartwall Arena, which has a capacity of 13,506 and is the home of Jokerit. The secondary arena will be the 8,200 seated Helsinki Ice Hall, where HIFK calls home.

Last year, the World Juniors called Toronto and Montreal it’s home for the duration of the 2015 tournament. The Montreal Canadiens prospect system was well represented by four players. Zach Fucale had a 5-0-0 record with a .939 save percentage for Team Canada en route to a gold medal victory. Martin Reway was a key piece for the Slovakian side, with 4 goals and 5 assists. Reway also had three assists in their bronze medal win over Sweden. Speaking of Sweden, Habs prospect Jacob de la Rose had a strong start to the tournament, and finished with 2 goals and 2 assists. Lastly, Artturi Lehkonen honourably put on the jersey of his home Finland, where he had a goal in the tournament.

This year, neither player has guaranteed a spot on their home country’s roster, but there are two potential Habs prospects who will be battling to be invited on the flight to Finland to compete for a gold medal. On the Canadian side, Noah Juulsen will be looking to earn a spot on the blue line. The second prospect could be Lukas Vejdemo who will be battling for a spot on a very talented Swedish team.

Photo: La Presse

Photo: La Presse

Lukas Vejdemo, a 19-year old from Stockholm, Sweden, can play both up the middle at centre and on the wing. Standing at 6’2″, 194lbs he’s got a strong left shot. In the 2014-15 season, Vejdemo played in Sweden for the Djurgardens IF under-20 squad. Being in a draft eligible year, he had a lot to prove to National Hockey League scouts and that he did. In 34 games, Vejdemo recorded 48 points and 51 penalty minutes. At the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, he was proudly selected by the Habs in the third round at 87th overall. This season, Djurgardens IF called him up to the main roster in the top professional league in the country, and he has recorded an impressive 3 goals and 7 assists in 25 games in his SHL rookie season. This season in Europe, he has played five games with Durgardens IF in the Champions Hockey League.

Photo: La Presse

Photo: La Presse

Noah Juulsen is an 18-year old two-way defenceman from Abbotsford, B.C., Canada. Juulsen is measured at 6’2″ and 185lbs and is very mobile along the blue line. During the 2014-15 season, Juulsen was playing with the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League with top Habs prospect Nikita Scherbak. In 68 games played, the defenceman totaled 9 goals and 43 assists for 52 points. In the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Juulsen was the first round selection at 26th overall of the Habs. After the pre-season training camps, Juulsen was returned to the Silvertips for the duration of the 2015-16 season. So far in 18 games, he has 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points. He also played on the Team WHL All-Stars against Russia in the Super Series for 2 games where he got a goal and a +3 plus/minus rating.

Sweden has invited 15 forwards to their final camp and they are expected to cut two before Boxing Day and take 13 forwards on the trip to Helsinki for the 2016 World Juniors. Below is the list of 15 Swedish forwards in alphabetical order by last name fighting for 13 spots.

2016 WJC

Canada has invited 11 defenceman to their final camp and they are expected to cut 4 from the list by Boxing Day for the start of the tournament. Below is the list of the final 11 Canadian defenceman fighting for 7 spots on the Team Canada final roster.

2016 WJC

Hockey Canada’s Selection Camp will begin on December 10th at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario. They will have four practices, plus a fifth practice with the CIS All-Stars Select Team, and two games against the CIS All-Stars as selection camp will complete on December 13th and the final roster will be determined prior to the tournament.

Good luck to both Noah Juulsen and Lukas Vejdemo, as both Habs prospects will be working hard to earn an opportunity to represent their home at the 2016 IIHF World Juniors.

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