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Canucks prospect Juolevi to captain Finland’s world junior team

In just a few days, Finland will begin its defense of world junior hockey gold — and it will have a returning champion, Olli Juolevi, as its captain.

The official announcement came Monday.

The Vancouver Canucks selected Juolevi with the fifth overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, bolstering the depth among their defensive prospects. Juolevi, 18, saw some playing time during the pre-season in Vancouver, but he was sent back to his junior team in London.

At last year’s tournament, Juolevi had nine assists in seven games. His performance there left an impression on Canucks management ahead of the draft.

“We thought he had an exceptional tournament for a 17-year-old kid,” Jim Benning told Sportsnet earlier this year. “To step in and help lead his team to a championship… In all my years of scouting, I don’t think I remember a 17-year-old who did what he did this year.

“We just felt of all the defensemen, we liked his all-around game the best.”

On Monday, USA Hockey named Minnesota Wild first-round pick Luke Kunin as its captain for the upcoming tournament.

Kunin, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, was taken 15th overall in this year’s draft. This season, he has 11 goals and 17 points in 16 games.

Colin White, an Ottawa Senators first-round pick in 2015, and Charlie McAvoy, taken in the first round of this year’s draft by Boston, were named alternate captains.

“I couldn’t be happier to have these three quality guys leading this locker room,” said U.S. junior head coach Bob Motzko in a statement.

“We’ve been saying it every day that there’s a pulse with this group. We know Luke, Charlie and Colin are at the center of that through their style of play and their tremendous amount of heart. We’re fortunate to have them leading this team.”

Wild prospect Joel Eriksson-Ek was named captain of Sweden’s team.

Eriksson-Ek already has experience in the NHL regular season, playing nine games in Minnesota, scoring twice with five points, before he was sent back to Sweden.

Related: Coyotes prospect Strome to captain Canada at World Juniors

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    Coyotes prospect Strome to captain Canada at World Juniors

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    Canada’s world junior team features three players that played in the NHL this season.

    On Monday, those three were named to the club’s leadership group.

    Arizona’s Dylan Strome, who appeared in seven games this season and scored his first NHL point, has been named captain for the tournament, Hockey Canada announced.

    Islanders forward Matthew Barzal — who played two games before getting sent back to WHL Seattle — is one of the alternates, along with Ottawa d-man Thomas Chabot, who played in one game this year prior to returning to the QMJHL.

    This figures to be a big tournament for Strome, who was part of the disappointing Canadian team that lost in the quarterfinals to Finland last year.

    Strome finished tied with Mitch Marner for the team lead in scoring, with six points in five games, and will now have a chance to follow in the footsteps of Curtis Lazar, the last player to captain Team Canada to gold on home soil (Lazar was the leader of a dynamic ’15 team that went undefeated en route to gold in Montreal and Toronto).

     

    Barzal, Chabot, Strome highlight Canada’s World Junior team

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    A trio of rookies that made their NHL debuts this season will represent Canada at the upcoming world junior championships.

    The Islanders’ Matthew Barzal, Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot and Arizona’s Dylan Strome are among the 22 players that made the cut for the tournament, which will begin later this month in Montreal and Toronto.

    Chabot, the 18th overall pick in 2015, played one game with the Sens this year before being sent back to QMJHL Saint John. Barzal, the 16th overall pick that same year, played two games for the Isles before getting returned to WHL Seattle.

    Strome, the third overall pick in ’15 — behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — played in seven games for the Coyotes this season, scoring his first-ever NHL point in the process. He’s now plying his trade for OHL Erie.

    The full roster:

    Goaltenders: Carter Hart, Connor Ingram

    Defensemen: Chabot, Jake Bean, Kale Clague, Dante Fabbro, Noah Juulsen, Jérémy Lauzon, Philippe Myers

    Forwards: Barzal, Strome, Julien Gauthier, Mitchell Stephens, Anthony Cirelli, Dillon Dubé, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mathieu Joseph, Tyson Jost, Michael McLeod, Taylor Raddysh, Nicolas Roy, Blake Speers.

    Sergachev highlights Russia’s World Junior camp invitee list

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    Mikhail Sergachev, the talented blueliner taken ninth overall by Montreal at this year’s draft, headlines a list of 28 players chosen to participate in Russia’s World Junior training camp, per NHL.com.

    Sergachev, 18, thoroughly impressed Habs brass during the exhibition campaign, and make the club out of training camp. He then proceeded to appear in three games for the Canadiens before GM Marc Bergevin sent him back to OHL Windsor.

    With the Spits, Sergachev has seven points in his first 11 games.

    He isn’t the only intriguing prospect named to Russia’s camp. Goalie Ilya Samsonov — taken 22nd overall by Washington in 2015 — is also there, and in the midst of a terrific KHL campaign. With Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Samosonov has 11 wins this year, with a 2.14 GAA and .934 save percentage.

    Denis Gurianov, the forward taken by Dallas with the 12th overall pick in ’15, will also be at camp. Gurianov is currently plying his trade with Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, where he has nine points in 19 games.

    There is a fourth first-round pick in the mix as well. That’s German Rubstov, who Philly took at No. 22 this past June. Rubstov has split the year between the KHL and Russia’s junior league, and has emerged as a point-per-game player in the latter.

    Barzal, Strome, Patrick among invitees to Canada’s World Juniors camp

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    Mathew BarzalDylan Strome, Nolan Patrick, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Tyson Jost, Sam Steel, Jake Bean and Thomas Chabot are among the recognizable names that have been invited  to Canada’s World Juniors selection camp in Blainville, Quebec, from Dec. 10-14.

    Canada is hosting the 2017 tournament (in Montreal and Toronto), hoping to bounce back after getting knocked out in the quarterfinals by Finland in 2016.

    Patrick, likely to be selected first overall in the 2017 NHL draft, is the youngest invitee. The 18-year-old forward is currently out with an upper-body injury, so his participation at the camp remains in question.

    Click here for the full camp roster.

    Related:

    Isles return Barzal to junior club

    Coyotes send Dylan Strome back to junior

    Draft-day shocker: Blue Jackets take Dubois over Puljujarvi