The 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships are coming up at the end of this month, and the participating countries have all released their selection camp rosters. Five Nashville Predators prospects from four countries are among those with WJC camp invites. In alphabetical order by country, here’s a quick look at these potential future Preds.
Nashville selected Colton Sissons this year in the 2nd round (50th overall). If he makes the Team Canada roster he’ll be playing in his first World Junior Championships. Sissons is the only Preds right-wing prospect currently playing junior hockey. He has posted 109 points (53G-56A) in 148 career games for Kelowna, including 27 points (10G-17A) in 27 games this season.
Miikka Salomaki was selected by the Predators in the 2nd round (52nd overall) this year. He returns to Finland’s squad as a veteran of two past World Junior Championships. In 2011 he put up 3 points (2G-1A) in 6 games. In 2012 he notched 6 points (3G-3A) playing on Finland’s second line before rupturing his spleen. Salomaki is considered one of Finland’s top offensive threats and has earned high marks for his work ethic and gritty game.
Nashville picked Mikko Vainonen in the 4th round (118th overall) of this year’s draft. This is the first invite to play for Finland at the World Junior Championships for Vainonen, who at age 18 is already a sizable presence at 6’3”, 222 pounds. He’s currently playing his first season of North American junior hockey for the Kingston Frontenacs and has 9 points (1G-8A) in 27 games.
A 6th-round choice (172nd overall) of the Preds this summer, Max Gortz is a big two-way winger who is just beginning a two-year contract with his Swedish Elitserien club, Farjestads. He’s adjusting to the higher level after playing under-18 hockey for the last three years, and has posted 8 points (5G-3A) in 29 games this season. Gortz is the only Predators prospect invited to try out for this year’s Swedish World Junior Championships team, which won the gold medal at last year’s championship.
Jimmy Vesey was selected in the 3rd round (66th overall) this year by the Predators. He’s currently a freshman at Harvard, where he’s put up 8 points (5G-3A) in his first 7 games. This is his first year being invited to the World Junior Championships camp for Team USA. He is the son of Jim Vesey, who played parts of three seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins.
If any of these Nashville Predators prospects make the cut they’ll travel to Ufa, Russia, where the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships tournament is set to begin on December 25th, 2012. This year’s gold medal winners will be determined on January 5th, 2013, and there might just be a future Predator among them.