The WJC is always an interesting event where we watch the prospects play against the highest level of competition. In preparation for the tourney, major participants now gather the prospects they think could help them win it all during the summer.
In most occasions, the teams at the WJC U20 are composed of prospects that attend the summer camps. However, occasionally, a young player will shine enough during the first few months of the season to be a late addition to the group.
This year, the Predators have a record number of prospects attending their countries camp.
For Canada, four prospects will join the summer camp. Among the forwards invited, Nick Suzuki is probably the most likely to make the final roster. His combination of speed, offense and defense could make him useful in any role on the team. After that, if team Canada wants a quick sniper, they may add Matt Phillips. He’s a tiny goal scoring machine. Lastly, Will Bitten is also attending. He is a hard working forward that has played well in the past for Team Canada alongside Jost. On defense, David Quenneville will be at the camp. He is on the smaller size but plays big, has a lot of heart and is an offensive juggernaut from the blueline.
For USA, the Predators will have two prospects attending. Between the pipes, Keith Petruzzelli will contend for a spot. He is a giant sized goaltender who is also athletic but he has serious competition from others who have played in the NCAA last year. Up front, Riley Tufte is at the camp competing for a forward spot. He is a big forward but skates well and he has a great shot. He can play on any type of line so that should work to his advantage.
Finland has invited one Nashville prospect. Eetu Luostarinen is competing for a depth forward spot. He played last year in the SHL in that role so he could most likely stick in that role on the junior team.
The other team where Predators prospects were invited is Sweden. Once again, a goalie prospect was invited. Filip Larsson is a calm goalie that uses positioning to make saves. He is good at rebound control and could take one of the goalie roles. Tim Wahlgren was also invited. He had a rough year but he could bounce back in 2017-18. He has good offensive abilities and is a hard worker.
While nine prospects could represent the Predators, the most likely to make the cut are Nick Suzuki, Eetu Luostarinen, Riley Tufte and Filip Larsson. The others are good enough to be there but they will have to make a good impression at camp.