The World Juniors Summer Showcase is often a country’s first chance to see their potential World Junior team come together. It gives players a chance to impress management and scouts, as teams will begin the process for naming their rosters for the IIHF 2020 World Junior Championship.
The showcase will hosted by the United States at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan for the third time, and will take place from July 26th to August 3rd. USA, Canada, Finland, and Sweden have already named their rosters for the tournament. Thanks in large part to their excellent 2019 draft, the Colorado Avalanche will have six prospects participate in the showcase.
The final rosters that teams will take to the Czech Republic come December will be comprised largely of 19-year old (2000-born) players, but it’s likely that we’ll see a few 2001-born Avalanche prospects make their respective countries’ World Junior teams — and a good showcase will help further their chances.
Bowen Byram (D)
U17: 5 PTS in 6 GP
Colorado’s first draft pick in 2019 is no stranger to representing Canada internationally. Byram was a standout player at the U-17s and won gold at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup in 2018. He would have been a lock to make the Canadian U-18 team this past May had he not been busy racking up points for his Vancouver Giants team in the playoffs.
The 2020 World Juniors will probably be Byram’s one and only chance to play at the tournament. He’s still eligible to play in 2021, but we expect that he’ll be too busy in the NHL by then. Canada does boast three blueline returnees from last year’s team, but Byram is as close to a lock as it gets. A strong performance at the WJSS would only solidify his spot on the team.
Alex Newhook (C)
U18: 10 PTS in 7 GP
Like Byram, Newhook has also represented Canada twice internationally. He made a statement with his ten point showing at the U18s in May and co-leading the team in scoring. He could make the team in 2020, but he’ll need to have a similar performance at the showcase (and a hot start to the regular season in the NCAA).
Alex Newhook was arguably Canada's best player at the U-18s in May. Based on my eyeballs.— ♀️Lauren Kelly ♀️ (@laurkelly24) June 22, 2019
Newhook’s linemates at the U-18s were Dylan Cozens and Peyton Krebs, who were both originally named to the showcase roster but had to pull out due to injuries. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of chemistry Newhook can generate with other players, and if he can drive offense as well as he did at the U-18s without them.
Luka Burzan (C)
U17: 2 PTS in 6 GP
The last time Burzan donned the Canadian jersey was at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup in 2017, where he went pointless in five games (but Canada won gold). Him being named to the showcase roster was a little bit of a head-scratcher for me, but that’s just one more Avs prospect to keep an eye out for, right? He’s probably a long-shot for the final roster in December, but Burzan has the ability to put up points and play his way into the conversation, and he’ll need a solid performance at the showcase.
Drew Helleson (D)
U18: 3 PTS in 7 GP
USA Hockey splits up its 44-man roster into two teams for the first few days, before combining the two teams to play the remainder of the tournament. Helleson will dress in two games for Team White, and hopefully play well enough to skate in the other four games for the United States. Helleson has represented USA at the U-17s and U-18s, and has been playing on the US National Team since 2017.
Sampo Ranta (LW)
HG: 2 PTS in 4 GP
Although he was eligible to play at the World Juniors last year, Finland elected to leave Ranta off their eventual gold-medal winning squad (ouch). However, Ranta still has plenty of international experience, having represented his country at the U-17s and won gold at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. Hopefully he’ll be able to make more of an offensive impact at the showcase.
Justus Annunen (G)
U18: 0.914 SV% in 6 GP
Annunen is the only Avs prospect attending the WJSS who has represented his country at the U17s, the U18s, and the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament. You’re looking at the probable starting goalie for Finland in December. He backstopped Finland to a gold medal over the Jack Hughes-led Americans in 2018 — a run that included shutting out Sweden in the semi-finals. Finland will play 5 games at the showcase, so they’ll likely divide the starts between Annunen and Jasper Patrikainen.
2019 WJSS Game Schedule
|July 26||USA Blue vs USA White||5:30 PM|
|July 27||USA White vs Finland||1:00 PM|
|July 27||USA Blue vs Sweden||4:00 PM|
|July 28||USA Blue vs Finland||1:00 PM|
|July 28||USA White vs Sweden||4:00 PM|
|July 30||Canada vs USA||4:00 PM|
|July 31||Canada vs Finland||1:00 PM|
|July 31||USA vs Sweden||4:00 PM|
|August 2||Sweden vs Canada||1:00 PM|
|August 2||Finland vs USA||4:00 PM|
|August 3||Sweden vs Finland||1:00 PM|
|August 3||USA vs Canada||4:00 PM|
Note: Broadcast rights for the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase have not been announced yet. NHL Network Radio (USA) and TSN.ca (Canada) streamed tournament games in 2018.