Finland money

Four Islanders prospects vying for Finland’s WJC 2022 squad

You may have forgotten, but the Junior World Championship takes place this summer. From August 9 to 20, the best U20 players will meet in Edmonton. And there’s a chance that four New York Islanders prospects will be on the Finnish roster.

On Wednesday, the Finland national under-20 team named their two rosters for their pre-world junior training camp. The first list is the main team while the second list is the “challenger” team. Three Islanders prospects made the first team while a fourth was named to the challengers squad.

Core Team Perspectives
Aatu Ratu (Bridgeport) | 2021 2nd
Eetu Liukas (HPK) | 2021 5th
Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans) | 2020 6th

Challenger Team Hope
Aleksi Malinen (JYP) | 2021 6th

Räty was a lock to make the team after the year he had with Jukurit. He was the only Islanders prospect named to the team that traveled to Edmonton in December. But being diagnosed with COVID before Finland left for Canada meant he couldn’t join his teammates.

Liukas and Rajaniemi were dropped from the squad in December because, as head coach Antti Pennanen told me, they couldn’t find a place for both. That could be the case again in August with Finland naming 10 defensemen and 15 forwards to the main roster. The final list is usually 8D and 14F. So Liukas and Raja might not do the final edit.

The possibility of Malinen making the team is much slimmer. He should have a freak camp not only to prove that he is worthy enough to make the main team and is better than the names on this main roster. It’s gonna be a soak tough battle for him.

Summer CMY?

I know that the Junior World Championships usually take place in the winter. But with the cancellation of the December tournament (thanks to a failed IIHF COVID protocol), the IIHF moved it to August. Same teams, same eligibility, just pushed back about nine months.