As USA Hockey hosts the 2023 World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Michigan from July 27 to August 4, three Nashville Predators prospects will be competing in the event.
Because Canada won’t be participating in the event for the second straight year, the U.S. will split its 45-player roster into two groups to compete in an eight-game tournament against Finland and Sweden with games taking place every other day.
The showcase will serve as a resource for teams competing in the IIHF 2024 World Junior Championship in Sweden on Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 evaluate players and assist in the decision-making process as national teams trim down their final rosters.
Predators prospects competing in the event are listed below:
Felix Nilsson: The 18-year-old Swedish winger tallied 19 goals and 41 points in 36 games for Rogle BK in the Swedish J20 Nationell league before being taken in the second round of the 2023 draft. He also has 16 games of international experience, scoring three goals and 10 points for the Swedish U17 and U18 teams over the last two years.
Jesse Kiiskinen: A veteran of 33 international games between the Finnish U17 and U18 teams, Kiiskinen logged a combined 21 goals and 39 points. The 17-year-old forward, who was a third-round pick of Nashville’s in 2023, scored 20 goals and 43 points in in 31 games for the Pelicans in Finland’s U20 SM-sarja league.
Kasper Kulonummi: More than a point-per-game defenseman last season, Kulonummi totaled 11 goals and 43 points across 36 games for Tappara, also in the U20 SM-sarja league. A well-traveled 19-year-old, Kulonummi has quite the international resume, which includes three goals and 29 points in 43 games between the Finnish U16, U18 and U20 teams.
Although Canada is not competing in the showcase, the team did invite 45 under-20 World Junior hopefuls to its Program of Excellence summer meetings, and the Predators had two representatives at virtual event.
Matthew Wood: The No. 15 overall pick in 2023, Wood was the youngest player in college hockey last season. He led UConn with 34 points and 11 goals in 35 games as a freshman. He’s also logged nine goals and 15 points in 11 games for the Canadian U18 team.
Austin Roest: The 19-year-old Roest, who was Nashville’s sixth-round pick in 2023, tallied 32 goals and 78 points in 60 games for the Everett Silvertips in the WHL last season. Should he make Canada’s roster for the 2024 World Junior Championship, it will be his first international tournament.
The full World Junior Summer Showcase schedule is below:
July 29: USA Blue vs. Sweden (12 p.m. CDT), USA White vs. Finland (3 p.m. CDT)
July 31: USA Blue vs. Finland (6 p.m. CDT), USA White vs. Sweden (6 p.m. CDT)
Aug 2: Sweden vs. Finland (12 p.m. CDT), USA White vs. USA Blue (3 p.m. CDT)
Aug. 4: USA Blue vs. Sweden (12 p.m. CDT), USA White vs. Finland (3 p.m. CDT)
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