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01-04-2011, 08:27 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Country: Finland
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Team Finland @ 2012 U20WJC's

In order to get over the shock treatment delivered by Evgeny Kuznetsov, it’s better to start looking forward towards the next WJC’s. The 2012 WJC’s are once again played in North America, this time in Calgary and Edmonton, Canada.

In some sense the goalie situation seems to be clear, we have 3 good goalie prospects; Sami Aittokallio, Christopher Gibson and Samu Perhonen. The only question mark is which one of the three will be the starter, and will he be able to carry the team against the tougher opponents.

Defense can be seen as the weak point for this team. Excluding the only returnee, 94-born Olli Määttä, there’s no top talent available. Or at least it seems like it at the moment. Jani Hakanpää was the last defenseman cut from this year’s team, and should be an almost certain addition to the team. Another almost certain addition to the team is Simo-Pekka Riikola, he has played 15 games in the SM-liiga so far this season, and in this aspect is the most experienced player in our defensive crop. After these three defensemen I personally find it difficult to predict anything.

At this year’s WJC’s Finland had three strong lines that were capable of creating scoring chances on a regular basis. I think that this is a good concept and the best way of challenging teams like Canada, USA and Sweden. Therefore I hope that the new coach will try to do the same next year. If healthy, the returnees Mikael Granlund (from 2009 and 2010), Joel Armia, Teemu Pulkkinen, Miikka Salomäki and Joonas Donskoi will naturally be among the top-9 forwards. Mika Partanen was the last forward cut from this year’s team and can be seen as an almost certain addition to the team.

If the above players are healthy and make the final team, it means that there are 4 available spots for defensemen and 7 available spots for forwards, any predictions?

One player who could make the team is Joel Mustonen, he has been on Skellefteå’s Elitserien line-up for 4 games now. He didn’t get much ice time and he’s not a high scoring player, but has a lot of energy in his game and could at least be seen as a potential 4th liner.

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