The World Junior Championships are set to take place from December 26, 2019 through January 5, 2020 and the Arizona Coyotes are poised to be well represented at the prestigious tournament.
Eight players have currently been named to their respective countries ahead of the tournament and the Coyotes organization will be keeping a close eye on their performances in the Czech Republic.
The Arizona Coyotes will have two players representing them with Team Canada at this year’s edition of the World Juniors.
With his ice time fairly limited so far in the NHL, it was reported earlier in the week that Barrett Hayton will link up with his fellow countrymen.
Alongside him will be defensive prospect Kevin Bahl, who has been continuing his development with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League.
The 6-foot-6, 229lbs 19-year-old from New Westminster, British Columbia has ramped up his offensive production in his second season after being drafted by the Coyotes in the second round (55th overall) of the 2018 Draft.
In 28 regular season games with the 67’s, Bahl has five goals and 20 total points, which puts him on pace to reach around 48 points if he were to match last season’s appearance total of 68 regular-season games, smashing his total of 34.
A strong showing with Canada will be another positive step forward in his development, with a spot in the AHL a likely progression next season.
Another defenseman selected by the Coyotes in the 2018 Draft, this time in the third round (73rd overall), Ty Emberson will be representing Team USA at the upcoming World Juniors tournament.
A right-handed shot from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Emberson has experience representing his country at Under-17 and Under-18 level, where he earned a silver medal. He will be looking to gain even more valuable experience at the primary junior international competition.
The defensive defenseman has been a steady presence for the University of Wisconsin over the past two seasons and will be hoping the international experience can help him continue his development further.
The most recent addition to their country’s roster is 2019 first-round pick Victor Söderström, who was originally left out of Team Sweden’s World Juniors roster.
Söderström returned to Sweden this season with the World Juniors in mind and was disappointed to miss out initially, though injuries have led to him being called up.
The 18-year-old right-handed defeseman has been in good form for Brynäs IF in the SHL, registering two goals and nine total points in 15 regular season games so far.
This eclipsed Söderström’s points total during his draft season and his call up to Team Sweden will be a pleasing development for the Coyotes organization.
Söderström could be in line to make the NHL roster as early as next season, with general manager John Chayka a particularly big fan of his. A strong showing in the Czech Republic could be the next step he needs to make that even more of a reality.
Another country that will have two Coyotes prospects on board is Team Finland, who have Matias Maccelli and Aku Räty.
The 18-year-old Räty has split his time in the Kärpät system this season, featuring in 19 regular season games (2G, 3A) in the SM Liiga while also making 13 appearances with the club’s junior team, earning nine goals and nine assists in the process.
Maccelli, meanwhile, has been a truly impressive prospect for the Arizona Coyotes, establishing himself as a regular player in the SM Liiga with Ilves.
In 26 regular-season games in the Finnish top tier, Maccelli has been almost a point-per-game player and has ten goals and 15 assists in that span.
Maccelli, who was originally selected in the fourth round out of the USHL at the 2019 Draft, could be in line to move over to the AHL as early as next season and a good performance at the World Juniors could certainly help the organization take closer notice of his development.
The hosts of the tournament will have one of the best prospects in the Arizona Coyotes system in the form of Jan Jeník, who looked to be on the verge of starting the season on the NHL roster after a strong training camp.
The 2018 third round pick originally plied his trade in his home nation before bringing his talent over to the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, registering 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 27 games.
This season, Jeník has stepped on the gas and already has 56 points (22G, 34A) in the same number of games. The physical forward will be a serious consideration for the NHL roster, at the very least ending up in the AHL, and will be hoping to impress for his country as they host the tournament.
The last player that will represent the Arizona Coyotes at the World Juniors is Swiss forward Valentin Nussbaumer.
The 19-year-old forward is no stranger to the World Juniors, having represented his country in the past two iterations of the tournament.
He was selected by the Coyotes out of the QMJHL after a 17-goal, 38-point season with the Shawnigan Cataractes, having arrived in Canada after spending the majority of the previous season playing in the top league in Switzerland.
With 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 31 games for Shawnigan, Nussbaumer will be hoping to impress further at this year’s competition after registering three goals and one assist in 12 previous appearances for his country.