The Czech Republic will host the 2020 World Junior Championship (WJC) from December 26th to January 5th. The Toronto Maple Leafs will have three prospects in the tournament. Rasmus Sandin (Sweden), Nick Robertson (United States) and Mikko Kokkonen (Finland). In this article I will take a look at all three prospects.
Kokkonen will be looking to help Finland repeat as world junior champions after they captured gold in 2019. Finland has a pretty solid defense core at this tournament with plenty of good puck moving defenseman. Kokkonen is more of a stay at home defenseman and will look to protect the puck in his own zone. This year Kokkonen has three points in 20 games for Jukurit in the Finnish Elite League and will look to improve upon the 19 points he had last season in 56 games for Jukurit. Kokkonen and team Finland will begin their title defense against their arch rivals team Sweden on December 26th.
Robertson will be taking a break from a very successful season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) to try and help Team USA win a gold medal at the 2020 WJC. It looks like Robertson will be given a top six role with Team USA which will only work to his advantage. His productive season with the Peterborough Petes in the OHL has seen him record 35 points in 22 games with 23 goals scored. Team USA will be looking for Robertson and others to have a very productive tournament. The quest for a gold medal will begin for Robertson and Team USA on December 26th against Team Canada.
On December 15th the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they would loan their top prospect to Team Sweden. That is fantastic news for Team Sweden as Sandin will most likely be on the team’s top defense pairing. Sandin is having a fairly productive year so far with 12 points in 19 games with the Toronto Marlies. This is after collecting 2 points in six games with the Maple Leafs to start the season. He will be looking to improve on the four points he recorded during the 2019 WJC. Sandin and Team Sweden will start the tournament against Team Finland on December 26th.
The World Junior Championship is always an exciting time to watch prospects and draftees from around the world compete for gold. Maple Leafs fans will have the opportunity to watch three of the team’s prospects in action. With Mikko Kokkonen playing in Finland, this might be the first time many Maple Leafs fans will get to watch him play. The fun begins on December 26th and the gold medal game will be held on January 5th.
I’d like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and all the best for 2020.
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