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Eemeli Räsänen makes the final cut for Team Finland at the World Junior Championships

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He cracks a roster with one of the strongest groups of defenders in the tournament.

Aaron Bell / OHL Images

The Maple Leafs 2017 second-round draft pick, Eemeli Räsänen, joins an elite group for Team Finland on defence as the team tries to erase the memory of last year’s World Junior Championship where they ended up fighting off relegation. The valiant play of that troubled team in a must-win game has paid off big for Finland as they have a stacked team for this year’s event.

With eight defenders on the Finnish roster, the next job for Räsänen is to compete for ice time and to lock down a spot in the playing rotation. This is not a small task as he’s up against a group of talented recent first-round picks and some older players as well.

The final roster was announced this morning:

Goaltenders:

1 Luukkonen Ukko-Pekka, HPK Hämeenlinna

30 Lehtinen Lassi, Lukko Rauma

31 Halonen Niilo, HIFK Helsinki

Defence:

2 Heiskanen Miro, HIFK Helsinki

4 Salo Robin, Sport Vaasa

5 Räsänen Eemeli, Kingston Frontenacs OHL

6 Välimäki Juuso, C Tri-City Americans WHL

7 Juolevi Olli, TPS Turku

23 Vaakanainen Urho, SaiPa Lappeenranta

28 Jokiharju Henri, Portland Winterhawks WHL

36 Kotkansalo Kasper, Boston University NCAA

Forwards:

3 Jääskä Juha, HIFK Helsinki

9 Kuokkanen Janne, Carolina Hurricanes NHL

12 Koivula Otto, Ilves Tampere

13 Vesalainen Kristian, HPK Hämeenlinna

15 Koppanen Joona, Ilves Tampere

19 Tuulola Eetu, HPK Hämeenlinna

20 Tolvanen Eeli, Jokerit Helsinki

21 Nurmi Markus, TPS Turku

22 Räsänen Aapeli, Boston College NCAA

27 Ikonen Joni, KalPa Kuopio

32 Heponiemi Aleksi, Swift Current Broncos WHL

33 Innala Jere, HPK Hämeenlinna

34 Kupari Rasmus, Kärpät Oulu


This team looks very good on paper. In a few days we’ll see how they look on the ice. They open the tournament the hard way with a game against Canada on Boxing Day at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.