The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship is just around the corner and on Wednesday, two teams announced their tournament rosters. The San Jose Sharks will have at least one prospect in the tournament, as William Eklund made the final cut for Sweden, but Finland’s roster skews more toward 2022 draft-eligible prospects, with 10 total players showcasing themselves for next summer.
Among those draft-hopefuls are forwards Joakim Kemell and Brad Lambert. The 17-year-olds are both ranked largely in the top-10, and as high as second-overall so far in the scouting season. Lambert comes from a hockey family, with his dad and uncle having played in Europe, as well as his uncle Lane Lambert, who played for the Detroit Red Wings and Quebec Nordiques in the 80s.
Lambert comes with more of the size and versatility, playing at center and wing, while winger Kemell is a pure goal-scorer. The JYP team mates in Finland’s Liiga are two of the three youngest players on the team. Kemell leads the team in both goals (12) and points (18) despite missing nine games.
As far as the drafted players, 11 NHL franchises are represented on Finland’s roster, with the Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings sending two prospects each. Ten players are returning from last year’s competition: one goaltender, four defenders and five forwards, including Brad Lambert and the Kings’ Kasper Simontaival.
In the 2021 World Juniors Championship, Finland defeated Russia to win Bronze. Simontaival was second on the team in goals (4) and third in points (7) over the seven games of the tournament. Lambert netted 1 goal and 3 assists. Joel Blomqvist, the returning netminder who was drafted in the second round of the 2020 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, did not see any ice time in last year’s tournament.
Finland will compete in Group A against the Czech Republic, Canada, Germany and Austria in Edmonton, Alberta. Group B, consisting of the United States, Sweden, Russia, Slovakia, and Switzerland, will compete in Red Deer.
The pretournament exhibition games will begin on Dec. 20, with the preliminary round beginning on Dec. 26. The Finals will take place on Jan. 5, 2022.
2022 Finland WJC Roster
Joel Blomqvist (Pittsburgh Penguins, 2020)
Juha Jatkola (2022 draft eligible)
Leevi Merilainen (Ottawa Senators, 2020)
Aleksi Heimosalmi (Carolina Hurricanes, 2021)
Rami Maatta, (2022 draft eligible)
Topi Niemela (Toronto Maple Leafs, 2020)
Petteri Nurmi (2022 draft eligible)
Ville Ottavainen (Seattle Kraken, 2021)
Kasper Puutio (Florida Panthers, 2020)
Ruben Rafkin (2022 draft eligible)
Eemil Viro (Detroit Red Wings, 2020)
Samuel Helenius (Los Angeles Kings, 2021)
Roni Hirvonen (Toronto Maple Leafs, 2020)
Roby Jarventie (Ottawa Senators, 2020)
Oliver Kapanen (Montreal Canadiens, 2021)
Joakim Kemell (2022 draft eligible)
Ville Koivunen (Carolina Hurricanes, 2021)
Brad Lambert (2022 draft eligible)
Joel Maatta (2022 draft eligible)
Juuso Maenpaa (2022 draft eligible)
Olli Nikupeteri (2022 draft eligible)
Sami Paivarinta (2022 draft eligible)
Aatu Raty (New York Islanders, 2021)
Kasper Simontaival (Los Angeles Kings, 2020)
Kalle Vaisanen (New York Rangers, 2021)