Toronto Maple Leafs prospect and Toronto Marlies forward Kasperi Kapanen will be given the opportunity to win gold on home soil at the 2016 World Junior Championship.
The Maple Leafs announced on Sunday that the forward has been assigned to Team Finland for their World Junior Championship Selection Camp, where he’s expected to make the tournament team.
Most countries will begin selection camp presently and will select their final roster following a few exhibition games prior to the tournament’s start on December 26. Finland will open the tournament on the 26th with a game against Belarus. That game will be preceded by a number retirement ceremony for Saku Koivu, Jere Lehtinen and Ville Peltonen. Teemu Selanne will also have his number retired during the tournament, but not during that ceremony.
Kapanen was acquired by the Maple Leafs over the summer as a key piece of the trade that sent Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kapanen has spent the entire season with the Marlies in the AHL, where he’s scored five goals and five assists in 17 games.
He was a part of the Finnish National Team last year at the World Juniors, putting up a goal and no assists through five games. This season, he’s expected to be a key contributor to the Finnish squad’s offensive push.
The Maple Leafs have not yet made a decision on William Nylander, who could be a part of the Swedish team at the World Junior Championship. In the same announcement about Kapanen, they’ve announced that a decision will be made about potentially releasing Nylander to Team Sweden by the end of the week.
Nylander has been an outstanding for the Marlies this season, posting 13 goals and 18 assists through 24 games.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.