Six potential targets in the 2013 NHL Draft have been named to Finland’s preliminary roster for the World Junior Championship.
Artturi Lehkonen, Saku Salminen, Juuso Ikonen, Janne Juvonen join projected top-10 picks Aleksander Barkov and Rasmus Ristolainen on Finland’s preliminary roster of 29 for the World Juniors, a number that will be trimmed down to 20 plus three goalies before the tournament gets underway on Boxing Day.
Barkov, who became the youngest player to ever score a goal at the World Junior Championship last year at 16 years, four months, will be the centerpiece on a Finnish team that hasn’t medalled since 2006. The six-foot-two Barkov, ranked third in Future Considerations November ranking for the 2013 NHL Draft, currently leads Tappara with 14 goals and 28 points in 28 games – sixth among SM-liiga scoring.
Like Barkov, Ristolainen will be playing in his second World Juniors. A year ago, the Turko product recorded three assists in seven games. The part he plays this tournament will be dramatically increased after an impressive start to the season with TPS that has seen the rearguard record seven points in 25 games. Ristolainen is currently seventh in Future Considerations November ranking for the 2013 NHL Draft.
Though Artturi Lehkonen has yet to skate in his first World Juniors, the dynamic forward has seen his fair share of international action for Finland. A participant in several under-16 and 17 events, Lehkonen served as an assistant captain in the 2012 World Under-18 Championship – recording seven goals and 10 points in seven games. With KalPa this season, the Piikkio product has eight goals and 19 points in 28 SM-liiga games this season.
Joining Lehkonen on that U18 squad was Salminen, who sets his sights on appearing on the international stage again with Finland.
Ikonen, who has played in virtually every international event conceivable for Finland, will add the World Junior Championship to his list should he make Finland’s final roster, a strong reality after turning into a mainstay with the Blues of the SM-liiga. The five-foot-nine, 179-pound forward has compiled six goals and 15 points in 28 games.
Between the pipes Juvonen, who has bounced around several leagues this season, will also join his draft eligible peers in camp.