The Florida Panthers lead the Southeast Division of the National Hockey League, and now they are tops in the number of prospects participating in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-20 Championship tournament that continues through Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Three of the league-high seven Panthers’ prospects are skating for Team USA, two are representing Hockey Canada, and there is one on both the Finland and Russia contingent in the tournament.
Making the final cut for the United States squad were Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Rau, and Connor Brickley.
Bjugstad, the ‘Cats first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, opened the tournament with a goal and a plus-three rating in an 11-3 win vs. Denmark. Rau, a teammate of Bjugstad at the University of Minnesota, and the Panthers’ third-round selection (91st overall) this past summer, recorded a pair of goals and a plus-two rating in the United States’ first game. Brickley, Florida’s second-round pick (50th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft has eight goals and 10 points this season at the University of Vermont.
Named to Canada’s final roster were Jonathan Huberdeau and Quinton Howden.
Huberdeau, Florida’s first-round pick (third overall) this past summer leads all players in the tournament in scoring, picking up five points (1-4-5) in an 8-1 win against Finland. Howden, Florida’s first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, returns to Canada’s roster after recording five points (2-3-5) in seven games during last year’s tournament but did not register a point against Finland.
Joonas Donskoi, Florida’s fourth-round pick (99th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, returns after posting an impressive six points (3-3-6) in six games for Finland last year. He recorded two shots on goal against Canada in Finland’s opening game.
Yaroslav Kosov, the Panthers’ fifth-round selection (124th overall) in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, was named to Russia’s roster despite an injury earlier this season while playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL. Kosov picked up an assist and a plus-two rating in Russia’s 3-0 win over Switzerland.
Selected games throughout the tournament will be broadcast on the NHL Network. For more information on the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, including a complete schedule of games, visit: www.iihf.com