Boston Bruins’ prospects in World Junior Championships

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 05: Charlie McAvoy
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 05: Charlie McAvoy /

This year’s World Junior Championships starts their knockout round Tuesday.  Here are the prospects, and teams, you should watch if you’re a Boston Bruins fan.

The 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships are well underway, and start the elimination round Tuesday afternoon.  For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the World Junior Championships are a tournament held every year featuring national under-20-years-old teams. USA are the defending champions and B’s defenseman Charlie McAvoy scored in last year’s final.  Tons of NHL prospects compete in the event, including some from the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins have six players under their control playing in this year’s World Juniors, across three different teams.  The United States have the most B’s prospects with three, but Finland, two, and Sweden, one, also are teams Bruins’ management is watching.

Like I said, the knockout round starts at noon.  There are three games that will be featuring B’s prospects: Finland vs. Czech Republic, Sweden vs. Slovakia, and United States vs. Russia.  Let’s take a look at each game.

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Finland vs. Czech Republic

Finland is the team to root for from the Bruins’ perspective.  Finland has two B’s prospects, defenseman Urho Vaakanainen and forward Joona Koppanen.  Koppanen is the only Boston prospect in the top 20 in scoring with 4 points in 4 games.

Vaakanainen was Boston’s first-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft.  The defenseman was taken 18th overall.  Koppanen was drafted by the B’s in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

This game drops the puck at noon and can be seen on NHL Network.

Sweden vs. Slovakia

Boston fans should cheering for Sweden in this one for two reasons.  The first being Sweden has one of the Bruins prospects.  The other is that Slovakia was the only team to defeat Team USA in the preliminary round.

Sweden forward Oskar Steen is the only B’s prospect to watch in this game.  Steen has 2 points in 4 games thus far in the tournament.  He also scored the shootout winner over Russia on New Year’s Eve.  Steen was selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Sweden and Slovakia starts at 6 PM, but unfortunately will not be shown on NHL Network.  It will, however, be on TSN3 for anyone who gets the Canadian channels.

USA vs. Russia

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 02: Trent Frederic
DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 02: Trent Frederic /

This is the best game of the day and obviously USA is the team everyone should be rooting for.  The United States has three Bruins prospects on their roster at every position. Meanwhile, Russia doesn’t have any B’s future players.

USA forward Trent Frederic is one of the prospects to watch.  Frederic was taken by the Bruins 29th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft.  Frederic has one goal in the tournament so far, but could be channeling Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron, as he is in the top 20 in faceoff win percentage.

Defenseman Ryan Lindgren also belongs to the Bruins.  Boston selected Lindgren in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft.  Lindgren has been held scoreless so far in the World Juniors, but keep in mind he is a defenseman.

Next: Bruins 2017 in review

The last Bruins prospect I haven’t talked about yet is USA goaltender Jeremy Swayman.  Swayman was taken by the B’s in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft.  Swayman is one of USA’s backup goaltenders in this tournament.  He appeared in one game of the World Juniors but has yet to see a shot.

This game will be shown in prime time on NHL Network at 8 PM.