With the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship underway in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, those teams that have yet to fill out their rosters continue to do so in the midst of the first round. Sweden made a notable addition to close out their roster, adding another goaltender in Olle Eriksson Ek, the IIHF announced. The 19-year-old keeper was a fifth-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2017 and was a backup for Sweden at the WJC last year. Eriksson Ek is having an underwhelming season with BIK Karlskoga of the Allsvenskan, the Swedish minor leagues, and has yet to appear in the SHL. However, the younger brother of Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek has undeniable athleticism and ability and was worthy of a roster spot again for the Swedes. However, so long as Samuel Ersson, a Philadelphia Flyers fifth-rounder this year, continues his hot start to the tournament, Eriksson Ek is unlikely to see any action.
- The Czech Republic has also rounded out their roster with addition of a pair of NHL prospects. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman notes that the Czechs have added forward Jan Jenik and defenseman Radim Salda to their tournament team. Jenik was a third-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes back in June and has been a regular contributor for Bili Tygri Liberec of the top Czech league. Jenik is a smart, hard-working player who will bring a boost to the bottom-six for the Czechs. Salda is also a recent selection, a seventh-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Salda currently plays for Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL and brings the offensive touch that is typical of defenders out of that league. Salda is having a strong season for Rimouski and could prove to be a major addition on the Czech blue line. The Czechs have yet to win a game in regulation through two contests and face a tough challenge in the Canadians up next. The team hopes their newest additions can both be difference makers through the rest of their games.
- When it was announced that American prodigy Jack Hughes would miss his team’s game against Kazakhstan yesterday, few were concerned, as the Americans won handily anyway, 8-2. However, head coach Mike Hastings has now announced that Hughes will also miss tonight’s game against another undefeated team in Sweden and that is concerning. Hastings added that Hughes is “progressing” toward getting back in the lineup, but how long the presumptive 2019 No. 1 overall pick remains out with this undisclosed injury could dictate how far the U.S. goes in the tournament.
- Hastings also announced that Boston Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser will be back in net tonight for the Americans after getting a rest against the underdog Kazakhstan team. With top 2019-eligible goalie Spencer Knight and impressive collegiate keeper and Montreal Canadiens draft pick Cayden Primeau also on the roster, few expected the undrafted Keyser to be the go-to goalie for the Americans. However, Keyser is in the midst of a dominant season for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and performed well in the Americans first game of the tournament, so Hastings seems content to ride Keyser’s hot hand for as long as he can.