With the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship just around the corner, national teams are beginning to release their camp rosters as they prepare to name their final teams.
Nine total Kings prospects have been named to preliminary rosters and will compete for the chance to represent their countries — and the vast majority of them are considered near locks to make the final rosters.
The 2020 World Junior Championship will be held December 26, 2019 through January 5, 2020 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic. Final team rosters should be announced by December 24.
Alex Turcotte (C)
2019-20 Stats (University of Wisconsin, NCAA): 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 16 games
Turcotte, who recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in five games in the World Junior Summer Showcase, is currently in third for scoring for the University of Wisconsin, despite playing two fewer games due to illness. He’s taken on a major role in the team’s power play and currently has four power play goals, only one behind fellow rookie phenom Cole Caufield.
Arthur Kaliyev (RW)
2019-20 Stats (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL): 55 points (28 goals, 27 assists) in 30 games
Kaliyev continues to put pucks in the backs of nets from pretty much any angle possible, and several angles that seem impossible due to things like physics. He likes shooting the puck, too, and currently leads the OHL in shots taken by a wide margin (Kaliyev has 157 shots; the next closest player, Brett Neumann of the Oshawa Generals, has 134). But is he a lock for the team’s roster? Maybe, maybe not. While USA Hockey isn’t planning on making cuts before they head to Europe, a report from Jon Rosen suggests that Kaliyev may be more of a bubble player, and that the team specifically is looking at his play away from the puck as a determining factor.
USA GM John Vanbiesbrouck said he doesn’t expect any cuts to be made during select camp in Michigan. All 28 players will accompany team to training camp in CZE, Dec 20-23. Vanbiesbrouck also told me they will maintain 3 goalies for the WJC— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) December 9, 2019
Kaliyev, Turcotte, as expected. Sounded like Kaliyev more of a bubble-type. Those I've spoken with felt the WJSS did a good job at drawing attention to the improvements Kaliyev made away from the puck, which he'll need to continue to demonstrate to make the team. https://t.co/x7F5aHpJbJ— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) December 9, 2019
Akil Thomas (C)
2019-20 Stats (Niagara IceDogs, OHL): 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 27 games
Thomas was left off of last year’s World Juniors squad, despite a strong season with Niagara, but he’s matured both on and off the ice since then, and has taken on a big leadership role as the captain of the IceDogs. Thomas had a mixed performance at the Summer Showcase, being moved up and down the lineup and sitting out as a scratch before turning in a strong performance in his final game.
Aidan Dudas (C)
2019-20 Stats (Owen Sound Attack, OHL): 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 23 games
Even though Dudas only put up three points (all in one game) in three games at the Summer Showcase, and has limited national team experience prior to that, Hockey Canada seems to love the energetic, pesty game that he plays, and people generally talked about him like he was a lock to make the team — until he suffered an upper-body injury recently. Dudas is still banged up, and with Team Canada planning to make cuts sooner rather than later, they may not want to risk giving a roster spot to someone who ultimately can’t play.
Brad McEwen, Canada’s head scout, says Team Canada’s plan is to make all of their cuts by Thursday. They won’t bring extra guys to Europe for their two pre-tournament games. That makes things sticky for someone like Aidan Dudas, who is banged up. They’re taking him day by day.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 9, 2019
Kim Nousiainen (D)
2019-20 Stats (KalPa, Liiga): 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 28 games
Nousiainen already has a U18 World Championship gold medal, having won in the 2017-18 season with Finland. He’s had some appearances on the national team since then. Nousiainen is in his first year playing full time professionally in Finland and he is already gaining notice for his skating and poise with the puck. While he was drafted as an offensive defenseman, he played more of a defensive role for Finland at the Summer Showcase, but generally sees a lot of power play time patrolling the blue line.
Rasmus Kupari (C)
2019-20 Stats (Ontario Reign, AHL): 7 points (5 goals, 2 assists) in 24 games
The Kings are expected to loan Kupari to Finland to compete for his country this year. Kupari did not participate in Summer Showcase activities, presumably because the people responsible for selecting Finnish players already knew what kind of player they had with him. Kupari already has a gold medal from last year’s World Juniors, as well as a gold and a silver from previous U18 championships.
Tobias Bjornfot (D)
2019-20 Stats (Ontario Reign, AHL): 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) in 20 games
Bjornfot’s surprise ascension to playing professionally in the United States could have put his participation in this year’s World Juniors in jeopardy, but the Kings are expected to loan him to his national team. Sweden’s camp roster has very few extra players on it, so Bjornfot is expected to be on the final squad and could play a big role in terms of leadership there. He captained the gold medal-winning U18 squad last season, as well as serving as captain for the Summer Showcase games.
Samuel Fagemo (LW/RW)
2019-20 Stats (Frolunda, SHL): 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 20 games
Fagemo had his strongest performance in his final game of the Summer Showcase, recording a hat trick and showing off the energetic game that got him on the Kings radar in the first place. He’s on pace to just about match his production from last season in the SHL, but has already matched his production in Champions Hockey League production (10 points) in four fewer games.
Team Czech Republic
Lukas Parik (G)
2019-20 Stats (Spokane Chiefs, WHL): 9-2-2-0, 2.59 Goals Against Average, 0.914 Save Percentage
Parik is one of five goalies on the camp roster for the Czech Republic, a group which includes two older players (including Ducks prospect Lukas Dostal, currently playing professionally in Finland). Parik is the only one of the five playing in North America. He’s been playing well for the Spokane Chiefs, splitting time in net with another first year player. International play is what got Parik a lot of notice in his draft year, particularly his performance on the U18 Czech squad, keeping the struggling team competitive for far longer than expected.