Expect to see two Calgary Flames prospects at the World Juniors
Photo credit:Kevin Light/Vancouver Giants
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
The annual USA Hockey Summer Showcase began on Thursday in Plymouth, Michigan. The annual event features World Junior hopefuls from the United States, Finland and Sweden, and serves as a preamble to roster selections for those countries.
As the event kicks off, let’s take an early look at the chances Calgary Flames prospects have of representing their nations at the 2024 World Juniors in Sweden. Two prospects in particular have very strong chances.
The 2024 World Juniors features players born in 2004 or later. The Flames have eight drafted prospects in their system, with six of them currently eligible to play at the tournament.
Topi Ronni – Finland
Ronni represented Finland at the 2023 World Juniors. He’s also represented Finland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the men’s Under-18 World Championships. Barring anything wacky happening, he’s a lock to return for a second go-round with Finland.
Cade Littler – United States
Littler hasn’t represented the United States at any international tournaments. Combined with his background in the BCHL – typically USA Hockey doesn’t go outside of their national team system except for exceptional USHL players – it seems unlikely that Littler will get much consideration.
Samuel Honzek – Slovakia
Honzek has represented Slovakia a lot. He’s played in each of the past two World Juniors, as well as suited up for the men’s Division 1 Under-18 World Championship and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. As one of Slovakia’s most prominent young players and a first-round pick, he’s a lock.
Jaden Lipinski – United States
Lipinski’s going to have a big role with the Vancouver Giants this season and his numbers seem primed for an uptick. He’s another non-national development team player who probably sees their stock hurt as a result. He’s unlikely to get much consideration.
Etienne Morin – Canada
Morin’s stock suffers a little bit because of how dang deep Canada is at the blueline in the 2004 age group. But he’s coming off a good season and an appearance at the men’s Under-18 World Championships, and he seems poised for another strong season. He’s a bit of a dark horse for this coming World Juniors, but he seems like a good shot for the 2025 edition.
Axel Hurtig – Sweden
The good news is Hurtig was a part of two Sweden national team entries, playing at the World Junior-A Challenge and the men’s Under-18 World Championships. His season’s start will be delayed due to off-season shoulder surgery, though. As with Morin’s case with Canada, Sweden’s deep on the back end and so Hurtig’s chances are diminished. (He’s a dark horse for the 2025 team, potentially.)
Yegor Yegorov and Aydar Suniev – Russia
Due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Russia isn’t permitted to participate in IIHF competitions. As a result, neither Yegorov or Suniev have a team to play on.
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