Today, the 2023 World Junior Summer Showcase got off to a raucous start. The four-team friendly summer tune-up tournament includes two contingents from the United States (a Blue team and a White team), as well as rosters from Sweden and Finland. All teams are made up of U20 players eligible for the 2024 World Junior Championships set to kick off in December, and the showcase tournament provides a chance for national organizations of three of the best hockey countries in the world to evaluate things like physical readiness and line chemistry that come into play when deciding on final rosters for the real deal in winter.
Unfortunately for the United States, both teams lost their opening games today at home in Plymouth, Michigan, rather decidedly – USA Blue dropped the tournament opener to Sweden by a score of 7-0, while USA White fared much better but still lost to Finland, 4-2.
There are a couple of notable draft-eligible players suiting up at this tournament for the US. Team White boasts presumptive 2024 top-two pick Cole Eiserman among their forward core, while Team Blue has 2025 top prospect James Hagens in the mix at center (he even dressed on their first line today). The Finns also boast a pair of high-level 2024-eligible prospects in defenseman Aron Kiviharju and forward Konsta Helenius.
That being said, the games for this tournament are available to watch for free online, and information on this can be found through USA Hockey’s social media channels. With that in mind, it’s of interest to NHL fans to see which of your team’s prospects is suiting up at this mid-summer exhibition tournament in advance of the biggest few days in junior hockey:
Anaheim Ducks – F Carey Terrance (USA White)
Arizona Coyotes – F Samu Bau (Finland), F Tanner Ludtke (USA White)
Buffalo Sabres – F Anton Wahlberg (Sweden)
Calgary Flames – F Topi Rönni (Finland)
Carolina Hurricanes – F Cruz Lucius (USA Blue), F Felix Unger Sörum (Sweden)
Chicago Blackhawks – F Gavin Hayes (USA Blue), F Oliver Moore (USA Blue), F Frank Nazar (USA White), D Sam Rinzel (USA White)
Columbus Blue Jackets – F Gavin Brindley (USA Blue), F William Whitelaw (USA White)
Detroit Red Wings – D Anton Johansson (Sweden), D Axel Sandin Pellikka (Sweden), G Trey Augustine (USA White)
Florida Panthers – G Tyler Muszelik (USA White)
Los Angeles Kings – D Otto Salin (Finland), G Hampton Slukynsky (USA White)
Minnesota Wild – F Charlie Stramel (USA White)
Montreal Canadiens – D Lane Hutson (USA White), G Jacob Fowler (USA Blue)
Nashville Predators – F Jesse Kiiskinen (Finland), F Felix Nilsson (Sweden), D Kasper Kulonummi (Finland)
New Jersey Devils – F Lenni Hämeenaho (Finland), D Seamus Casey (USA Blue), D Charlie Leddy (USA Blue)
New York Islanders – F Quinn Finley (USA Blue), F Danny Nelson (USA Blue), F Jessi Nurmi (Finland), D Calle Odelius (Sweden), D Zach Schulz (USA White)
New York Rangers – F Gabe Perreault (USA Blue), D Drew Fortescue (USA White)
Ottawa Senators – F Oskar Pettersson (Sweden), G Kevin Reidler (Sweden)
Philadelphia Flyers – F Cutter Gauthier (USA White), F Devin Kaplan (USA White), F Cole Knuble (USA Blue)
Pittsburgh Penguins – D Emil Pieniniemi (Finland)
San Jose Sharks – F Filip Bystedt (Sweden), F Kasper Halttunen (Finland), F Cam Lund (USA Blue), F Quentin Musty (USA Blue), F Will Smith (USA Blue), D Mattias Hävelid (Sweden), D Eric Pohlkamp (USA White)
Seattle Kraken – F Zeb Forsfjäll (Sweden), F Jani Nyman (Finland), G Niklas Kokko (Finland), G Visa Vedenpää (Finland)
St. Louis Blues – F Jimmy Snuggerud (USA White), F Otto Stenberg (Sweden), D Paul Fischer (USA Blue), D Theo Lindstein (Sweden)
Tampa Bay Lightning – F Isaac Howard (USA White)
Vancouver Canucks – D Hunter Brzustewicz (USA Blue), D Jackson Dorrington (USA White), D Elias Pettersson (Sweden)
Vegas Golden Knights – F David Edstrom (Sweden)
Washington Capitals – F Ryan Leonard (USA White), F Alexander Suzdalev (Sweden), D Ryan Chesley (USA White)
Winnipeg Jets – F Rutger McGroarty (USA White), F Fabian Wagner (Sweden), D Garrett Brown (USA Blue), D Elias Salomonsson (Sweden)
The Sharks lead the way with seven representatives at the tournament, led by 2023 fourth-overall pick Will Smith. Only five teams have no affiliated prospects at the showcase – the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, and Toronto Maple Leafs.