Prospects Ramblings: USA and Finland WJC Preliminary Rosters

Peter Harling


Well it’s December now, which means Christmas is coming fast, and with it the World Junior. Teams are starting to name preliminary rosters as Finland and the United States have recently done so,  let’s start there.

Looking back at the World Junior summer showcase, the American top line of Logan Brown, Casey Mittelstadt and Kailer Yamamoto was dynamic and dominant at times and projects as the first line for the defending Gold Medal Americans. Both Brown and Yamamoto carried that momentum into NHL training camps and earned some NHL regular season time at the start of the season before being returned to junior. Mittelstadt is in his freshman year of college hockey with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and has been impressive posting five goals and 15 points in 17 games. Since returning to the OHL Windsor Spitfires, Logan Brown has 11 goals and 21 points in 13 games, while Yamamoto has a goal and nine points in ten games with Spokane in the WHL. Based on the chemistry this trio demonstrated in the summer, look for them to be a force at the WJC in Buffalo starting on Boxing day, and all be regulars in the NHL as soon as next year.

Other drafted prospects to watch include Trent Frederic (Boston Bruins), Riley Tufte (Dallas Stars) Max Jones (Anaheim Ducks), Kiefer Bellows (New York Islanders), Josh Norris (San Jose Sharks) and Ryan Poehling (Montreal Canadiens).

Also of note in the forward ranks are 2018 NHL draft eligible prospect Brady Tkachuk, brother of Matt Tkachuk (Calgary Flames). Older brother Matt was a surprise rookie sensation last year straight from his own draft and has quickly established himself as a fantasy must own player in leagues with hits and blocks. His little brother Brady is more of the same and at this stage of his development, some scouts think he is better than Matt was in his draft year. Brady is also a freshman in the NCAA, playing for the Boston Terriers where he has two goals and 12 points in 17 games.

On defense the players to watch for your future fantasy roster should include Adam Fox (Calgary Flames), Ryan Lindgren (Boston Bruins), Andrew Peeke (Columbus Blue Jackets), Reilly Walsh (New Jersey Devils) and another 2018 NHL draft eligible prospect in Quinn Hughes.

The other team to announce their preliminary roster was Finland.

NHL drafted forwards highlighting the roster include Kristian Vesalainen (Winnipeg Jets), Eeli Tolvanen (Nashville Predators), Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers), Eetu Tulola (Calgary Flames). Tolvanen is absolutely tearing up the KHL in an unprecedented manner as an 18-year-old, and he will surely be looked to to carry the load for Finland in goal scoring. Heponiemi is also dominating his league, the WHL where he is shooting out the lights with a staggering 66 points in 27 games. But the real strength for the Finnish team is on their defense.

Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars) headlines a powerhouse which includes Olli Ju