The 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase is set to begin today in Plymouth, Michigan. The Leafs will have two prospects taking part this year. This event is an annual round-robin tournament that showcases potential players for the World Junior Championships. You don’t have to be invited to the WJSS to make the WJC team, but it sure helps.
The host, Team USA, invites a large roster of players and splits them into two squads for the early games. Nick Robertson, the Leafs second round pick from this summer, will be there on Team White. His first job is to make the cut to the final combined squad that finishes the tournament.
There are no Leafs prospects on Team Canada, but their roster is looking strong as always. The Canadians arrive at the tournament late after participating in a showcase of their own first.
The Swedish roster is missing Rasmus Sandin, but don’t read much into that. He bowed out last year since he was focused on the Leafs camps, and he’ll be doing that again this season. It would be extremely odd to not see him on Team Sweden next winter.
Correction: after this article was written, Finland updated their roster without Kokkonen. He was injured in an earlier event in Europe.
Update on that:
FIN U20 coach Helminen said Ville Heinola (WPG) went for xrays after getting injured early on in the game (looked like upper body). Doesn't know severity of injury.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) July 27, 2019
Also said he doesn't expect Mikko Kokkonen's (TOR) injury to be a long-term one.
Finland features Mikko Kokkonen, the Leafs third-round pick this summer, on defence. He has a real chance to cement a spot on the WJC team with a good performance at this event.
The tournament kicks off tonight with an all-American matchup of Team Blue vs Team White.
2019 WJSS Schedule
|Friday, July 26||USA Blue vs. USA White||5:30 p.m.||HockeyTV||Free Admission|
|Saturday, July 27||USA White vs. Finland||1:00 p.m.||HockeyTV||BUY NOW|
|Saturday, July 27||USA Blue vs. Sweden||4:00 p.m.||HockeyTV||BUY NOW|
|Sunday, July 28||USA Blue vs. Finland||1:00 p.m.||HockeyTV||BUY NOW|
|Sunday, July 28||USA White vs. Sweden||4:00 p.m.||HockeyTV||BUY NOW|
|Tuesday, July 30||Canada vs. USA||4:00 p.m.||HockeyTV||BUY NOW|
|Wednesday, July 31||Canada vs. Finland||1:00 p.m.||NHL Network||BUY NOW|
|Wednesday, July 31||USA vs. Sweden||4:00 p.m.||NHL Network||BUY NOW|
|Friday, August 2||Sweden vs. Canada||1:00 p.m.||NHL Network||BUY NOW|
|Friday, August 2||Finland vs. USA||4:00 p.m.||NHL Network||BUY NOW|
|Saturday, August 3||Sweden vs. Finland||1:00 p.m.||NHL Network||BUY NOW|
|Saturday, August 3||USA vs. Canada||4:00 p.m.||NHL Network||BUY NOW|
The tournament doesn’t really have a winner, the teams just play each other. The point is for the coaches to get a good look at their players, but it is often a lot of fun. Or as fun as hockey in July can be.
Most of the games featuring Team Canada will be broadcast on TSN, but the first one vs USA isn’t on their schedule. There should still be one chance to see each of Robertson and Kokkonen in action.