The Utica Comets are already on the brink of elimination in their first round AHL playoff series, and it doesn’t look like they’ll get any help as they try to climb out of a 0-2 series against the Toronto Marlies. Rick Dhaliwal of News 1130 in Vancouver reports that Olli Juolevi will join the Finnish national team tomorrow in preparation for the upcoming World Championships instead of heading to the AHL. Juolevi will tryout for the team, though as Dhaliwal points out, he is not guaranteed a roster spot in the tournament.
Juolevi, 19, was the fifth-overall pick in 2016 and has had an excellent season back in Finland this year. After two seasons with the London Knights of the OHL, he returned to play for TPS in Finland’s highest league and recorded 19 points in 38 games. That came with another appearance at the World Juniors (his third) where he was named one of the three best players for Finland and was noticeable every time he touched the ice.
Expected to compete for a role on the Vancouver blue line next season, experience with the national team will be beneficial to his development. Being named to the roster for the tournament would be exceptional, and would give Canucks fans another reason to watch when it begins in just over 10 days.