Several Predator prospects made progress toward playing in the World Junior Hockey Championships that begin on Boxing day in Canada. Canadians Ryan Ellis and Gabriel Bourque made the 36 man tryout roster for Team Canada while Mattias Ekholm actually was named to Team Sweden today.
Prospects Jani Lajunen (Finland) and Roman Josi (Switzerland) may also be named to their country's teams in the next few days.
Here is the complete release from the Nashville Predators regarding the prospects...
2010 World Junior Championships teams
In addition to having 2009 draftees Ryan Ellis and Gabriel Bourque named to Canada’s 36-man tryout roster for the 2010 World Junior Championships, 2009 pick Mattias Ekholm was named to team Sweden’s roster for the 2010 World Juniors today.
Ellis – drafted 11th overall (first round) in June – has amassed 22 points (3g-19a) and a plus-21 rating in just 18 games for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires in 2009-10. The Hamilton, Ont., native, who missed nearly one month of the season due to injury from Oct. 8-Nov. 5, has been on a roll lately with nine points (3g-6a) in his last five contests, including his first career hat trick in a 9-2 victory over Kingston on Sunday (Nov. 29). This will potentially be the 5-9, 172-pound defenseman’s second trip to the World Junior Championships, as he won gold with Canada at the 2009 WJC, posting seven points (1g-6a) in six games.
Bourque – selected 132nd overall (fifth round) this past summer – is currently tied for seventh in league points (36) and tied for fifth in league assists (24) in 26 games playing for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar. The Rimouski, Que., native posted four points (1g-3a) in his last game, a 5-4 victory over Val-d’Or on Sunday night (Nov. 29), has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last five games, and is the League’s only player with more than 30 points and 50 penalty minutes.
Ekholm – drafted 102nd overall (fourth round) in June – plays among men, some nearly twice his age, with Mora IK of Sweden’s second division. He ranks first among junior-aged defensemen, and second among all junior players in points (1g-11a), in addition to leading all under-20 players in ice time (23:17). The Borlange, Sweden native is also tied for seventh among all league blueliners in points.
2008 draftees Jani Lajunen (Finland) and Roman Josi (Switzerland) are top candidates for their respective nation’s junior teams, which have yet to be named. Lajunen, drafted 201st overall (seventh round) in 2008 is currently playing for the Espoo Blues in Finland’s highest league, while Josi plays for Bern in Switzerland’s highest league. Josi, selected 38th overall (second round) in 2008, leads all league defensemen in goals (9) and ranks fifth among league blueliners in points (20).
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass