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Kings lead league with 9 prospects in World Juniors Championship

The Los Angeles Kings will be well-represented at the 2021 World Juniors Championship, topping the NHL with nine total prospects competing in the tournament. The wealth of talent in the Kings’ pipeline has often ranked the team among the best futures in the NHL — good news for a team that has been committed to a rebuild.

We’re still a while out from the youth taking over in LA, but for now, they’ll take the stage at at the biggest men’s junior hockey competition later this month. Of the nine prospects heading to Edmonton, there’s one goaltender, three defenders and five forwards. Five players are returning from the 2020 U20 World Juniors, while the remaining four are making their debut, either at World Juniors, or at the top level of World Juniors. Four are from the 2020 draft class, five are from 2019.

Three Kings prospects named to 2021 Team USA WJC roster

The team is most represented on Team USA, with forwards Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Turcotte, as well as defender Brock Faber. The only other team with multiple Kings prospects is Team Canada, whom forward Quinton Byfield and Jordan Spence will represent.

Here’s a glance at the four other Kings prospects we’ll get to watch at World Juniors:

Lukas Parik, G (Czech Republic)

2019-20 Team: Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 185 | Catches: Left

Drafted in the third round (87 overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old Parik returned to his native Czech Republic during the extended off-season, primarily playing with the second-tier men’s league, despite his juniors eligibility. In 10 games with HC Benatky nad Jizerou, Parik has gone 5-5-0, with a .896 save percentage and 3.28 goals against average.

He is returning to World Juniors. Last year, he played in two games for the Czech Republic, both losses, with an .846 save percentage and shocking 6.17 goals against average. The team itself only walked away from the tournament with one win last year.

Kasper Simontaival, RW (Finland)

2019-20 Team: Tappara U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 172 | Shoots: Right

Simontaival is a newcomer to the Kings organization, drafted in the third round (66 overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft. The under-sized winger impressed in Finnish juniors last season, finishing 48 games with 25 goals and 32 assists. He also appeared in short stints with the Mestis and Liiga, Finland’s second- and first-tier men’s hockey leagues, respectively. This season so far has been spent between the two men’s leagues, as well.

This will be Simontaival’s first World Juniors at the U20 level. He previously represented Finland at the U18 level in 2018-19.

Tobias Bjornfot, D (Sweden)

2019-20 Team: Ontario Reign (AHL)
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 203 | Shoots: Left

Three first-round selections by the Kings will be in this year’s World Juniors, including 2019 first-round pick (22 overall), Tobias Bjornfot. The bulky defender put up 19 points in 44 games with the Ontario Reign in the AHL last season. He also made his NHL debut, playing in three games. So far this season, he’s been on loan to Sweden’s top men’s league, where he’s had one goal and two assists in 15 games.

Bjornfot is one of the five Kings prospects making a return to World Juniors. He went scoreless in seven games for Sweden in last year’s tournament. He also represented Sweden at the U18 level in 2018 and 2019, wearing the “C” his second year.

Martin Chromiak, RW (Slovakia)

2019-20 Team: Ontario Reign (AHL)
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 203 | Shoots: Left

A fifth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft, Chromiak is the lowest-draft Kings prospect to compete in the 2021 World Juniors Championship. The Slovakian forward made his way to the OHL last season, scoring 11 goals and 22 assists for the Kingston Frontenacs. This season, he was loaned to his former club, HK Dukla Trencin, in Slovakia’s top men’s league, where he has tallied two goals and three assists in eight games.

This will be his first World Juniors U20 tournament. He’s previously represented Slovakia at the U18 level in 2019.

Byfield, Spence named to Team Canada 2021 WJC roster

The tournament is set to begin on Christmas Day, with preliminary rounds through New Year’s Eve. The Quarterfinals will begin on January 2, 2021 and the Finals will be held on January 5.

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