For the first time in years, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a number of prospects participating in the most anticipated annual international hockey tournament. Seven future hopefuls will be representing their countries at the 2021 World Junior Championship this year. Here is a look at the Penguins prospects who will be battling for the gold medal. 

Team Canada

Alex Newhook will be one of two players who will be representing the province of Newfoundland. Newhook has demonstrated tremendous chemistry with wingers Dylan Holloway and Jakob Pelletier, with the trio likely to make a difference at both ends of the ice. In his D+1 year, Newhook destroyed the NCAA, outclassing players like Trevor Zegras and Cole Caufield. 

[Newhook] has lots of speed, and good balance, and is strong with a good shot,” said Canadian head coach André Tourigny, in a Zoom call following the scrimmage. “He is a two-way player who is really solid. And he has lots of energy and good spark.”

Despite going undrafted two years in a row, netminder Taylor Gauthier has done enough to impress the coaches to earn one of the three eligible goalie positions on the team. 

“It was a really special moment, hearing that one of your dreams had come true from your family that’s been with you right from the start,” Gauthier said at a news conference this afternoon from Red Deer.

Team Sweden

Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz, also known as the "Terror Twins", look to dominate this years tournament after an average showing in 2019. Both forwards have been outstanding this season in the SHL, playing pivotal roles for their respective clubs (Frolunda and Djurgarden). The Twins are both 3rd in scoring on their teams, while battling against men. Raymond has already surpassed his point totals from last season, while Holtz is on pace to do the same. Sweden's chance at gold will be heavily reliant on how these two perform. 

Holtz said of Raymond, “Were rivals during the season, but when we’re with the national team, we have played together almost all the time… It’s a lot of fun. He’s so skilled and such a good hockey player, and he’s a great guy as well. I think we can make an even bigger impact than last year. I think this tournament is going to be fun.”

Albert Johansson is arguably the Wings defensive prospect after Moritz Sneider. While he is more polished in the defensive end, Johansson possesses incredible poise, a booming shot and has demonstrated a willingness to jump into the play and help out offensively. Johansson has tallied 7 points in 20 games for Farjestads, good enough for second amongst defenders on the team. 

Team Finland

Leafs prospect Topi Niemela will likely find himself situated amongst the top 4 and should expect to see time on the powerplay. He is a skilled defender with a heavy and accurate shot. With his speed, acceleration and confidence with the puck, you should expect to see Niemela pushing the play, jumping into the rush every chance he gets. The 18 year old Finn has put up three apples in nine games with Karpat this season, and has never looked out of place when playing against older competition. 

Team USA

While he won't wow you with his jaw dropping skills, Brock Faber is a guy who will eat minutes and is typically someone who makes the safe play. Faber is expected to partner with fellow Minnesota Gopher, Ryan Johnson. The two will likely be deployed against one of the opposition's top lines. According to Cam Robinson of Dobber prospects, Faber is a dynamic skater who is strong in transition. 

Hopefully these guys give Penguins fans something to cheer about over the holiday.