Finland has announced their final roster for the upcoming World Championship, and it is filled with young NHL talent. The Dallas Stars will be quite pleased with the results, as both Miro Heiskanen and Julius Honka will be present on defense. The entire group is as follows:
Affiliated NHL organization in parenthesis
Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars)
Julius Honka (Dallas Stars)
Niko Mikkola (St. Louis Blues)
Markus Nutivaara (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Ville Pokka (Ottawa Senators)
Sebastian Aho (Carolina Hurricanes)
Mikael Granlund (Minnesota Wild)
Kasperi Kapanen (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche)
Teuvo Teravainen (Carolina Hurricanes)
Heiskanen’s presence on the team is especially noteworthy given that he is only 18 years old still, and made it over other top young players like Olli Juolevi. The third pick in the 2017 draft, Heiskanen is an incredibly mobile two-way defender that should be an impact player in the NHL before long. The Stars will watch to see if he and Honka get any time together and can start to build chemistry, as the pair could be used together for years to come.
For Rantanen, a good performance at the Worlds would be just another feather in his cap for the 2017-18 season. After scoring 20 goals last season on a dreadful Colorado team, he and Nathan MacKinnon formed one of the league’s most dangerous duos this season and racked up the accolades. Rantanen finished with 84 points, a huge total for a 21-year old winger still learning how to best use his big frame in the NHL.