Pittsburgh's Kasperi Kapanen (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Most of the European nations have now released their preliminary rosters and there have been some surprising omissions. Our prospect expert breaks down the players you need to know for the World Junior Championship.
We are mere weeks away from the World Junior Championship, where Toronto and Montreal will play host to some of the best teenaged players on the planet. Canada and the U.S. announced their final camp rosters last week and now it's Europe's turn to shine. Camp rosters are trickling out and there are some big names – and big snubs to consider. Here's the latest:
The Tre Kronor has been strong for some time now and though this edition doesn't look as potent, there is still a lot of talent to go around. Washington Capitals rookie Andre Burakowsky would be a huge score for the Swedes, but he may be too busy in the NHL to attend. Otherwise, here are some of the big names to watch for:
William Nylander, C (Toronto) – super-skilled producer has been great for Modo
Jacob De La Rose, C (Montreal) – Big power forward playing in AHL for Hamilton
Robert Hagg, D (Philadelphia) – Physical two-way force playing in AHL for Lehigh Valley
Julius Bergman, D (San Jose) – All-around player getting points in OHL for London
Oliver Kylington, D (2015 draft) – Incredible skater will be high pick this summer
Adrian Kempe, LW (Los Angeles) – Powerful, physical winger for Modo
Axel Holmstrom, C (Detroit) – Talented skill guy for Skelleftea excels internationally
Notably absent: Anton Cederholm (Vancouver), Marcus Pettersson (Anaheim), Frederik Olofsson (Chicago)
The returning champs will be without some of last year's best players, but there is still talent available.
Kasperi Kapanen, RW (Pittsburgh) – Speedy and skilled, he's tearing it up for KalPa
Juuse Saros, G (Nashville) – Last year's hero in net from HPK is back for more
Julius Honka, D (Dallas) – Brilliant offensive D-man playing for AHL Texas
Artturi Lehkonen, LW (Montreal) – Skilled winger playing great for Frolunda in Sweden
Juho Lammikko, RW (Florida) – Powerful winger skates for OHL Kingston
Jesse Puljujarvi, RW (2016 draft) – Phenom for Karpat has size, smarts and a wicked shot
You never can tell how the Russians will fare in this tournament, but they always manage to make news one way or another.
Nikita Zadorov, D (Buffalo) – Towering force for OHL London returns from last year's squad
Sergey Tolchinsky, LW (Carolina) – Skilled offensive weapon plays for OHL Sault Ste. Marie
Ivan Barbashev, LW (St. Louis) – Physical two-way presence plays for Moncton in 'Q'
Valentin Zykov, LW (Los Angeles) – Great scorer with solid build for Baie-Comeau in 'Q'
Pavel Buchnevich, LW (NY Rangers) – Big and talented winger for Severstal
Vladislav Kamenev, C (Nashville) – Strong center with vision plays for Magnitogorsk
Nikolay Goldobin, RW (San Jose) – Wicked sniper playing for HIFK in Finland
Ivan Provorov, D (2015 draft) – Poised, two-way standout for WHL Brandon
Notably absent: Nikita Scherbak (Montreal), Maxim Letunov (St. Louis)
Hopes are very high for the Czechs, who won silver at the under-18s and the Ivan Hlinka. Depth is looking hot and now they've got confidence as a program again.
David Pastrnak, LW (Boston) – Skill and vision has made him killer for AHL Providence
Jakub Vrana, RW (Washington) – Pure sniper doing great for Sweden's Linkoping
Vitek Vanecek, G (Washington) – Athletic stopper does everything quick for Liberec
Pavel Zacha, C (2015 draft) – Power forward finding his way with OHL Sarnia
Dominik Masin, D (Tampa Bay) – Two-way leader plays for OHL Peterborough
Jakub Zboril, D (2015 draft) – All-around gem has been great for QMJHL Saint John
Filip Chlapik, C (2015 draft) – Great vision and size with QMJHL Charlottetown
Vaclav Karabacek, LW (Buffalo) – North-South winger gets points for QMJHL Gatineau
The halcyon days might be behind the Swiss, but this squad will still be competitive.
Kevin Fiala, LW (Nashville) – Skilled and determined scorer for HV 71 in Sweden
Noah Rod, RW (San Jose) – Quick and gritty winger for Geneve-Servette
Kay Schweri, RW (2015 draft) – Super fast and super dangerous for QMJHL Sherbrooke
Denis Malgin, C (2015 draft) – Another speedster with talent, he's from ZSC
Timo Meier, RW (2015 draft) – Stocky points machine for QMJHL Halifax