The Devils had 5 players selected to represent their countries at the World Junior Championship consisting of players on 5 different teams. While the team doesn't have any of the big name players like Dylan Strome or David Pastrnak in the tournament, the team likes the mix of talent it has on display. The forwards Vladislav Kamenev, Brendan Perlini and Juho Lammikko represent Russia, Canada and Finland while defensemen Louis Belpedio and Dominik Masin represent USA and the Czech Republic. Of the five, only Lammikko and Masin were drafted by the Devils while Kamenev was recently acquired from the Canucks in the trade for Colin Wilson. Belpedio and Perlini were parts of the trade that sent Bobby Ryan to Colorado last June.
With the tournament under way, it doesn't appear like much of note has happened so far with any of the 5 players belonging to the Devils. Masin has a goal for the Czechs, Kamenev 2 goals and 3 points for Russia, Belpedio has a goal and an assist for USA. Much like his season so far with Niagara in the OHL, Perlini has seemingly struggled in the tournament and has yet to record a point on a so far disappointing Canadian team. Lammikko also doesn't have a point on a very strong Finnish team, one of only 4 players on the team without being on the scoresheet for them so far.
The team has some hopes on all five players developing down the road as solid contributers to the team, mainly Kamenev and Perlini being top six players. Masin could be a realiable defensive d-man and Lammikko and Belpedio are longershots to make the team as both have a lot of development left to do. Belpedio will have to get smarter in his own end to have a future for the Devils while Lammikko is a solid defensive forward he might not have enough scoring to ever be able to grab a spot on the team. If nothing else, hopefully the tournament will jumpstart Perlini when he gets back to juniors and maybe some national team coaching will be good for Belpedio.
The worst thing to come from the tournament so far is still the fact that Kyle Connor wasn't invited and that Dennis Guryanov was sent home as a final cut after an undisciplined play. Guryanov has struggled mightly on a bad Lada team in the KHL with only 4 goals and 5 points in 33 games however Connor has so far been the complete opposite of that with 25 points in 17 games for a strong Michigan team. With 0 PIM on the season so far the team hopes there will be some grit to his game down the line but if they can get a good scorer then they are happy with the pick for sure. At this point in time the team is glad they picked both players but with a do-over might have to drop the Russian for Brock Boeser, who the team also wanted but decided against in favor of Guryanov. Boeser has proven just as dangerous as Connor in college hockey so far, showcasing his dangerous shot with 13 goals in 20 games and he was also selected to play in the World Juniors. The Devils think the Blackhawks made a solid pick with him at 21.