Colorado Avalanche prospect Mikko Rantanen is going to get the opportunity to play for his home country when they host the World Junior Championship this month.
The Avs and Joe Sakic announced that they will loan the 6-foot-3 winger to Team Finland, according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.
The 10th overall draft pick in the 2015 draft made the Avalanche out of camp, but played just six games for the team without scoring a point before being reassigned to the San Antonio Rampage of the American League.
The 19-year-old currently leads the Rampage with eight goals and 22 points while having played in just 18 of the team’s 25 games. He’s not just putting up points, but playing a well-rounded game and receiving plenty of praise for it.
This is big for the host nation, who will be getting a power forward back for his final year of eligibility, after he scored four goals in five games for Team Finland at the 2015 World Junior Championship.
It was also announced on Sunday that Finland will be getting Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kasperi Kapanen for the tournament. He has also been playing in the AHL, where he has five goals and 10 points through 17 games for the Toronto Marlies. Like Rantanen, Kapanen was a part of Finland’s 2015 WJC roster.
The 2016 World Junior Championship opens on December 26 in Helsinki, Finland.
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.