With less than 24 hours until the beginning of the premiere Under-20 event of the year, the Blackhawks find themselves well represented in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship.
From August 9th-20th, all eyes will be on the next generation of elite talent as international teams take the ice in Edmonton, Alberta.
Originally, nine players in the organization were invited to team Canada and USA camps. As it stands right now, only four remain.
All official rosters are not required to be finalized until the night before day one of the competition. Lets take a look at who remains in North America.
Forward – Landon Slaggert
Team USA looks to welcome back their Alternate Captain and defending Gold medal forward to their 2022 roster.
Slaggert, who went pointless across seven games in the 2020-21 tournament, is primed to take on the leadership role he was given before this year’s original tournament was canceled.
The 2020 3rd rounder spent last season with the University of Notre Dame, posting 26 points and 39 penalty minutes in 40 NCAA games.
The promising power forward looks to bring his gold medal-winning pedigree to a youthful USA team in this upcoming tournament.
#Blackhawks PROSPECT CONNECTION!!! Landon Slaggert (#19 in blue) scores off a Wyatt Kaiser (#5 in blue) rebound. Love to see Kaiser activating there and Slaggert is just playing his game (gritty and in the crease). #HockeyTwitter #HawksProspects #WorldJuniors #GoIrish pic.twitter.com/w4NGn3iKnp
— Chicago Prospects (@Chi_Prospects) December 27, 2021
Defenseman – Wyatt Kaiser
If you aren’t familiar with Wyatt Kaiser, now is the time to listen up.
The 2020 3rd round pick made a great impression in this year’s development camp in Chicago, receiving praise from Assistant General Manager Mark Eaton.
Scott Powers of The Athletic singled him out as well, saying he has a real shot at being a top-four defenseman.
His skill and elite hockey IQ were on full display, proving he very well may be a legitimate roster player in the future.
Similar to Slaggert, Kaiser was selected to Team USA’s roster last December before the tournament was canceled.
The speedy defenseman has spent the last two years with Minnesota Duluth. His college experience has allowed him to not only work on his game but also grow into himself.
— Chicago Prospects (@Chi_Prospects) March 20, 2022
Forward – Dominic James
The 2022 6th-round pick looks to prove doubters wrong as he returns to the World Juniors after its cancelation last December.
His numbers at Minnesota Duluth do not jump out as top World Junior talent, yet his high motor and drive establish his significant value.
A forward like this is worth just as much as an elite offensive talent. His exceptionally efficient defensive mind will always be of use.
Look for him to play a large part in Team USA’s penalty kill in the upcoming tournament.
Defenseman – Ethan Del Mastro
It was announced yesterday that due to an injury to a roster player, the 2021 4th-round pick would be added to Team Canada.
The 6′ 4″ defenseman is the only Hawks prospect representing Team Canada in the upcoming tournament.
Del Mastro has spent the last three seasons with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, where he was named captain last year. His election to captain proved to be a spark, as he posted 48 points and a +/- of 34 in 68 games.
Quite a difference compared to the season prior, where he only posted 7 points in 57 games.
The late addition looks to bring a big-bodied presence to the ice as Team Canada looks for their first gold medal since 2018.
Team USA announced they have finalized their roster. Unfortunately this came with disappointing news for Hawks fans.
Frank Nazar, who is widely considered the Blackhawks top prospect, was amongst the final cuts.
Although it is disappointing, I fully expect Nazar to represent his country when the next World Juniors takes place in December.
You can read more about Nazar and what he will bring to the table in the future, here.
We've got our squad. #WorldJuniors 🇺🇸
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) August 7, 2022
Additional cuts coming from Team USA included Forward prospect Aidan Thompson and Defenseman Connor Kelley.
Forward Colton Dach and Defensemen Nolan Allen were also not chosen to represent their home country of Canada in Edmonton.
Although these cuts are disheartening, these players should be recognized for even being invited.
World Juniors is truly the best of the best. Hawks fans should be excited that so many players in the organization were even given a look.
With that being said, this tournament will give fans the best view possible at the next generation of talent.
It is a one of a kind tournament that I will always consider a “can’t miss.”
Tune in tomorrow, August 9th as Team USA takes on Germany at 10 p.m. ET for their first taste of the action.