As of this morning, there will be four New Jersey Devils prospects at the 2017 World Junior Championship tournament. Earlier in the month, Canada announced their roster which includes the Devils’ 2016 first round selection, forward Michael McLeod, and the Devils’ 2015 third-rounder, forward Blake Speers. Yesterday afternoon, Russia’s roster was announced. Russian Prospects on Twitter, @RUSProspects, has the list of players which includes defenseman and one of the Devils’ 2016 fifth-rounders, Yegor Rykov.
This morning, USA Hockey announced their full roster after making one final cut. One Devil prospect made it. 2016 third round selection, forward Joey Anderson. He’s the sole player from Minnesota-Duluth on the USA roster and it’ll be interesting to see how he does after lighting up the World Under 18 tournament back in April 2016.
First and foremost, congratulations to both Rykov and Anderson for making their countries’ rosters for this tournament. It isn’t an easy roster to make as it includes the best players from the recent draft class - which may not necessarily be the highest picked players. Throw in injuries, a short lead time to identify who plays with each other, and recognizing who fits into the coach’s plans and roster construction is a challenge that all nations face for a short international tournament such as this one.
There’s a good reason for the Devils fan to pay attention to four potentially future New Jersey Devils going to the tournament. The hope is now onto whether or not they do play. Rykov, for example, is one of eight Russian defensemen going to the WJCs. It’s not a guarantee he’ll be in the lineup. Anderson is one of thirteen American forwards; his past time with the United States National Team Development Program helped him get to the 2017 WJCs - now he has to stick around. Likewise for Speers and McLeod; particularly Speers as he’s recently back from a broken wrist. Still, it’s an honor to make the roster and in a few days we can see how they stack up against many of the best under-20 hockey players in the world.
The 2017 World Junior Championships will begin on December 26, 2017. The tournament is hosted by both Toronto and Montreal. We will have an open post with schedule and broadcast information up on Monday morning. Thank you for reading.