Three Canucks prospects to watch at the 2022 World Juniors: Jurmo, Lekkerimäki, and Truscott get the call
by Brett Lee @brett1ee
After a seven month wait, the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship resumes this week in Edmonton, after the initial tournament was postponed in December.
Player eligibility for the rosters remained the same meaning that while there will be some 20-year-old players participating in an under-20 tournament, they were not yet 20 when the tournament was originally scheduled to take place.
With the extra seven months and some original players becoming unavailable, roster opportunities materialized for new players to grab hold of. For the Vancouver Canucks, these openings mean that Joni Jurmo, Jonathan Lekkerimäki, and Jacob Truscott will represent their respective countries.
This will be Jurmo’s first chance to represent Finland at a major tournament.
Although 20 years old, he benefits from the age cut-off remaining unchanged from the original tournament. He will be one of eight defencemen on the Finnish blue line after having played himself onto a spot over Finland’s summer camp.
Selected in the third round of the 2020 draft, Jurmo made his first trip to Vancouver last month to participate in the Canucks development camp. And he left an impression.
“Joni is a strong, powerful skater with size,” Canucks assistant director of player development Chris Higgins said of the 6-foot-4 defender. “He has the ability to individually transport the puck from zone to zone, impressing his peers at this year’s development camp.”
Jurmo will look to have a strong tournament and carry momentum into the upcoming season with Jukurit of the Finish Liiga.
Finland Preliminary Round Schedule:
August 9 vs Latvia (3 p.m.)
August 11 vs Czechia (11 a.m.)
August 14 vs Slovakia (11 a.m.)
August 15 vs Canada (3 p.m.)
Having just turned 18 last month, Vancouver’s most recent first-round pick is the youngest player on Sweden’s squad. More likely to have a bigger role in the 2023 tournament, this will be a competitive training ground for him to go up against some of the best players outside of the NHL, most of whom will be a year or two older.
Being one of the youngest players on his team is nothing new for the Swedish sniper, who plied his trade as a 17-year-old in the SHL this past season. Higgins points to Lekkerimäki’s “hunger to score goals” as a trait that stands out.
“When he anticipates offensive opportunities, Jonathan has the intelligence, skill, and shot to finish scoring sequences,” Higgins said.
Lekkerimäki has found success internationally with Sweden in the past, most recently competing against his own age group at the Under-18 World Championship this past April. He led the tournament in scoring with five goals and 10 assists in six games, including a four-point effort in Sweden’s gold medal clinching game against the United States.
Sweden Preliminary Round Schedule:
August 10 vs Switzerland (11 a.m.)
August 12 vs Austria (11 a.m.)
August 14 vs United States (7 p.m.)
August 15 vs Germany (7 p.m.)
Truscott, 20, played his way onto this edition of USA’s U-20 squad at their summer camp. The 2020 fifth rounder largely played on a pairing with top prospect Luke Hughes this past season at the University of Michigan and the pair could reunite in Edmonton for the tournament.
“Jacob plays a reliable, effective defensive game,” Higgins said. “He is dedicated to the game’s details and has the skillset to be a valuable penalty killer at the next level.”
Truscott is well known to the American program, as he was drafted out of the US National Development program. He will be heading back to Michigan next season where he will look to build upon his 17-point campaign from last year.
United States Preliminary Round Schedule:
August 9 vs Germany (7 p.m.)
August 11 vs Switzerland (7 p.m)
August 14 vs Austria (11 a.m.)
August 15 vs Sweden (7 p.m.)