Typically, the month of November is the most important time of the season (aside for the playoffs) for prospects with aspirations of making their home country’s World Junior Championship roster. Not only is it their last opportunity to showcase their worth in league play, but tournament play starts to get underway.
The first major under-20 event is taking place in Helsinki, Finland, from Nov. 8-10. Its a Four Nations tournament, involving the U20 national teams for Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the Czech Republic. Considering the upcoming World Junior Championships is less then two months away — with the Czech Republic being the host nation — the roster being iced for this tournament is a strong indication of who they’re expecting to send to the WJC.
Two Red Wings prospects will be at this tournament, neither of whom are big surprises. Jonatan Berggren (33rd/2018) for Sweden and Otto Kivenmaki (191st/2018) for Finland.
Sweden's U20 roster for the November tournament. This gives an indication of who they are looking at for the World Juniors pic.twitter.com/tTvhnlNRlT
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) October 21, 2019
Finland U20 team for the Four Nations tournament in Helsinki, Finland from November 8th to 10th. pic.twitter.com/mAQ6dTPrTR
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) October 28, 2019
Last season, Berggren was unable to play for Sweden because of injury, and Kivenmaki was still establishing himself as one of Finland’s top options. With some of the players who played last season graduated, both Berggren and Kivenmaki were able to get the nod. I expect both 2018 draft picks to make it past the roster deduction stage and make the final team.
For a quick overview on how the season has went for Berggren and Kivenmaki to date, here is a game-by-game breakdown of their stat-lines:
The most notable omission was Antti Tuomisto (35th/2019), who instead is listed on Finland’s U19 roster. An indication he just missed the cut. Also left off was Kirill Tyutyayev (190th/2019) of Russia, but that isn’t much of a surprise. He has yet to play this season with an arm injury. Had he been healthy, he most likely would have been on the bubble to make the final team. This was Tyutyayev last season of eligibility.
To see the schedule and keep track of how Berggren and Kivenmaki perform in Helsinki, make sure to take a look at our Prospect Master Schedule:
One last note: another U20 Four Nations will be ongoing in November. The nations of Germany, Norway, Slovakia, and Switzerland will meet in Piestany, Slovakia, for a separate Four Nations, spanning from Nov. 7-9. The Red Wings obviously have one of Germany’s blue chip prospects in Moritz Seider in their system, but it is unlikely the club will send him over. Seider will, however, play for Germany at the WJC, and play in a massive role.