Four Kings’ prospects – representing three different countries – could be part of the upcoming World Junior Championship (WJC), including a pair of first round picks.
Team Canada’s summer evaluation camp was filled with more Kings’ prospects than any other NHL team. However, for various reasons, only two of those five have a shot at the final roster – Brayden Schenn and Linden Vey.
While Schenn’s spot is all but guaranteed, Vey will be competing with 23 other forwards when Canada opens their selection camp this Sunday. From the 40 total players invited, only 22 will be taken to the WJC.
Russia will once again feature Maxim Kitsyn – the leading scorer at the recent Super Series (a tournament pitting top Canadian junior players vs. a Russian all-star team). Kitsyn began a pre-tourney camp with Russia today and they’ll depart for North America in about 10 days. Last winter wasn’t the best of times for Russia when it came to international play. They didn’t medal at the WJC (a first in six years) and were embarrassed at the Olympics in Vancouver. So, they’ll be a hungry team and will have their hands full right from the beginning – their first opponent in pool play is Canada. Kitsyn vs. Schenn!
Team USA announced their preliminary roster today and to nobody’s surprise, this year’s first round pick by the Kings, Derek Forbort, was included on the list. He’s a product of the U.S. National Development program and has participated in international play for them before, including winning a gold medal at the Under-18 Championships.
The USA team also features local product, forward Matt Nieto. The Long Beach native is currently a freshman at Boston University and is expected to be a first round draft pick at the 2011 NHL Draft. We have an interview with him up here.
All the action at this year’s WJC kicks off on Sunday, December 26. Most games will be televised live on the NHL Network.
We’ll have all the latest news and notes – including player interviews – throughout the tournament.
Until then, take a look at this article featuring Kyle Clifford - he checked in with MayorsManor immediately following Canada’s summer camp and filed a full report, including his opinions on all the Kings prospects that participated in the event.