USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp takes place Aug. 2-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y. In addition to bringing together prospective players for the team that will represent the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, USA Hockey will also welcome last year’s gold medal game combatants, Finland and Sweden.
All three teams will have a few days of practice before playing one another in a series of exhibition games. The United States and Finland meet for real on Dec. 26 in Montreal; Sweden will set up shop in Toronto during the tournament.
Players attending: 23, including eight from the team that won gold at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship (goaltenders Ville Husso and Juuse Saros; defenceman Julius Honka; and forwards Juuso Ikonen, Saku Kinnunen, Artturi Lehkonen, Aleksi Mustonen and Otto Rauhala).
2013-14 scoring: 21 skaters had 592 points (219G, 373A) in 1,009 cumulative regular season games
Players selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft: eight
Spotlight player: Julius Honka (Dallas Stars, 2014, first round, 14th overall) This offensive defenceman excelled playing on the smaller ice for the first time in 2013-14; he came to North American and racked up 16 goals and 40 assists for the Swift Current Broncos.
Undrafted player to watch: Aleksi Saarela Listed on NHL Central Scouting’s 2015 Futures List, the 1997-born winger first played in Finland’s top league at age 16 and has plenty of international experience for the Scandinavians (U16, U17, U18).
Players attending: 25, including six from the team that won the silver medal at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship (goaltender Jonas Johansson; defencemen Robert Hägg and Robin Norell; and forwards Jacob de la Rose, Anton Karlsson and Lucas Wallmark).
2013-2014 scoring: 22 skaters had 621 points (247G, 374A) in 1,004 cumulative regular season games
Players selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft: 17
Spotlight player: Adrian Kempe (Los Angeles Kings, 2014, first round, 29th overall) The second youngest player named to the Swedish roster for camp, Kempe is a solid two-way forward who plays a very North American game; he goes north-south and loves initiating contact.
Undrafted player to watch: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson One of four players on the Swedish roster who finished the 2013-14 season in North American, JFK had 33 points for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL and was lights out in the face-off circle.
Players attending: 42, including six from the team that finished fifth at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship (goaltender Thatcher Demko; defencemen Will Butcher, Ian McCoshen and Steve Santini; and forwards Jack Eichel and Hudson Fasching).
2013-2014 scoring: 38 skaters had 1,237 points (497G, 740A) in 1,807 cumulative regular season games
Players selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft: 34
Spotlight player: Alex Tuch (Minnesota Wild, 2014, first round, 18th overall) Tuch put up more than a point per game for the U.S. National Under-18 Team last season – pretty impressive for a tenacious forechecker who tends to be the “meat and potatoes guy on a skilled line.”
Undrafted player to watch: Jack Eichel An explosive presence on the ice, Eichel had 77 points in 59 games for the U.S. National Under-18 Team and has already played at two IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championships and last year’s World Juniors.