The 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase is set to begin on July 27 in Plymouth, Michigan, featuring top U20 prospects from the United States, Canada, Finland, and Sweden. Games will be held at the USA Hockey Arena and will run through August 3.
These games give fans a first glimpse of players who will compete for spaces on national team rosters for the IIHF 2020 World Junior Championship, which will be held from December 26 to January 5 in Ostrava and Třinec in the Czech Republic.
The Los Angeles Kings will have seven prospects participating in the showcase, including five players who were selected in the 2019 NHL Draft. Take a look at each Kings prospect who we’ll get a closer look at in the coming week.
Alex Turcotte (C)
2019 U18 (World Championship): 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 7 games
USA Hockey sends enough players to make up two squads, which will be condensed into one team after the first three days of the showcase. Turcotte will initially skate with the Blue team. In addition to his play with the US National Team Development Program, Turcotte has represented the US twice at the U18 World Championships, taking home a silver (2018) and a bronze (2019). He also has a gold medal from the 2017 U17 World Hockey Challenge.
Turcotte’s performance at the 2019 U18s was overshadowed by being on the same team as Jack Hughes, who scored a dominant 20 points in 7 games. Turcotte should have the opportunity to stand out a little more this year.
As Turcotte will not be attending the Kings’ training camp or participating in the preseason, due to his college obligations, this will be Kings’ fans only chance to see him this summer before he begins play at the University of Wisconsin.
Arthur Kaliyev (RW)
2018 U18 (Hlinka Gretzky Cup): 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 5 games
Kaliyev, who just turned 18 last month, has limited major international experience to date, but he did have a strong performance at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. His breakout season in 2018-19 (51 goals, 51 assists) all but guaranteed him an invite to the showcase. He will skate on Team White for the USA. An interesting storyline to watch will be USA Hockey’s handling of Kaliyev and his perceived issues with effort and consistency. Will the front office, so to speak, see enough from him to put any lingering doubts to rest?
Akil Thomas (C)
2018 U18 (World Championship): 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in 4 games
Despite improving his performance with the Niagara IceDogs each season, Thomas was left off of Team Canada’s roster for international play last season. He did appear in the 2018 and 2017 U18 tournaments. With most of the players on the 2019 U20 squad being 1999 birth years, Thomas (born in the year 2000) would have been one of the younger players selected and perhaps wasn’t viewed as a sure thing. He should be a lock for this year’s team, especially given his dominant 2018-19 season with the IceDogs.
Aidan Dudas (C)
2018 U18 (World Championship): 1 point (1 goal) in 3 games
Dudas has limited major international experience and was used sparingly at the 2018 U18 World Championship. He put up slightly less than a point per game in the OHL this past season but didn’t dominate in the way top juniors prospects normally do. Dudas is an intriguing option, as he fits into the category of players often overlooked for being undersized (Dudas is currently listed at 5’8” or 5’9”, depending on the source), but he has good speed and a strong wrist shot that could make him a surprise weapon on the ice.
Kim Nousiainen (D)
2018 U18 (World Championship): 1 point (1 goal) in 7 games
Nousiainen played in all seven games for Finand during the 2018 U18 World Championship, taking home a gold medal at the end of the tournament. He’s played in assorted international games since, but no major competitions. The 5’9” defenseman is viewed as more of a long-term project, but has the speed and puck-moving ability that is coveted by teams in the modern NHL.
Tobias Bjornfot (D)
2019 U18 (World Championship): 1 point (1 assist) in 7 games
Bjornfot didn’t put up much by way of offense — and hasn’t, really, at any point in his career — but is consistently described as the type of player who others would run through a wall for. He was the captain of the gold medal-winning Swedish team at the most recent U18 World Championship, after having previously captured bronze at the U18s the season before. He also captained the Swedes to silver in the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Samuel Fagemo (LW/RW)
2019 U20 (World Championship): 1 point (1 assist) in 5 games
Fagemo, who was selected by the Kings in his second year of draft eligibility, has already made his U20 debut for the Swedish national team. While that Swedish team was eliminated by the Swiss in the quarterfinals, it was good experience for Fagemo, who was one of the most improved players in the Swedish junior leagues, and who held his own upon promotion to the SHL.
How to Watch
Games on July 26 through July 30 will stream online via HockeyTV. All games from July 31 to August 3 will air on the NHL Network in the United States. All times in the schedule below are Easter, so get ready for some morning/afternoon hockey, California.
In addition, we’ll be on site for the final three days of the tournament, bringing you live updates and a first glimpse at Kings prospects in game action.