Nashville Predators: Prospects are Shining Early on at 2021 WJC
The 2021 World Junior Championship has served as a nice appetizer before Nashville Predators hockey returns in just over two weeks.
The group stages of the 2021 World Junior Championship has brought some blowouts and some close matchups, and prospects for the Nashville Predators have brought plenty of positives to their respective teams.
Christmas Day marked the opening of the 2021 WJC with Team USA taking center stage against Team Russia. Highly-touted goaltender prospect Iaroslav Askarov was in net for Russia and naturally brought in plenty of attention from Predators fans.
Team Russia also has Predators prospects Egor Afanasyev and Semyon Chistyakov on their roster, and all three made positive impacts to the Russians’ 5-3 win over USA.
Team Finland has prospect Juuso Pärssinen, who has a goal and an assist through two Finland wins so far. Their next matchup is December 30 against Slovakia.
Pärssinen was drafted by the Predators in 2019 in the seventh-round and has looked very solid on the big stage of the WJC so far. He’s also currently playing pro hockey in Finland’s Liiga and has 12 points in 18 games.
Tomasino stays hot
Then you have the top prospect in the Predators’ prospect pool and that’s Philip Tomasino. It’s safe to say that his gigantic trajectory into the NHL hasn’t slowed down here in Edmonton for the WJC.
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Tomasino and Team Canada absolutely dismantled Team Germany in their opening game of the tournament, and Tomasino flashed all of his skills in a 16-2 route. He finished with two goals and an asisst and looked very comfortable out there.
Check out Tomasino’s game-winning goal against Slovakia as he capped off another strong outing and another win for Canada:
Stop us if you’ve seen this before.@PredsNHL prospect @philtomasino26 gives us all a reason to breathe (and celebrate) with tonight’s game-winning goal!#WorldJuniors | #GensNation pic.twitter.com/kbwekFaJl1
— Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) December 28, 2020
Another goal was added to Tomasino’s total that got Cananda on the board early in their December 29 win over Switzerland.
Tomasino just put up 100 points in his previous season professionally in the OHL, and now he’s continuing on that track at the WJC. You love to see it and he’s making his case to be on the NHL roster for the Predators this upcoming season.
If you’re going to nitpick some, Askarov has made some mistakes for Russia in terms of fighting the puck and not looking completely comfortable. However, he’s also made some outstanding saves, particularly this recovery save:
A big mistake turned into a big save for Askarov
Game still tied 0-0 pic.twitter.com/2bdO6bPNaW
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 28, 2020
Askarov’s save percentage is just below 91 percent through two games, so you hope he can improve upon that. Russia’s next game is against an outmatched Team Austria on December 29.
Afanasyev totaled two shots and almost 16 minutes of ice time in Russia’s latest game against the Czech Republic which ended in a 2-0 shutout loss.
Chistyakov had a very impressive outing against Team USA to open the tournament on Christmas Day and has been fun to watch laying out the hits. He’s a 2019 fourth-round pick who has a bright future for Nashville.
Most recently Russia got a 7-1 win over Austria that saw Chistyakov tally his first point of the tournament, while Afanasyev had a big night with one goal and two assists.
Follow with us throughout the entire 2021 WJC to stay updated on all of the Predators prospects competing on the international stage.