The IIHF World Junior Championship starts on Christmas Day in Edmonton, Alberta.
The only Stars prospect playing in the tournament is Thomas Harley.
The fact that Harley made a stacked Canada team who are significant odds-on to win the tournament is an achievement that should please Stars fans. Mavrik Bourque was cut from camp in the final round of players, as Harley was a year ago.
Last year Harley failed to make the Canadian roster that went on to win gold. This year, he is on a team that is full of NHL talent and high draft picks. Canada is taking 8 defensemen, and 6 of them (including Harley) are prospects that went in the first round of the NHL entry draft. Kaeden Korczak is a 2nd round pick of the Montreal Canadiens and Jordan Spence in the 4th round by the LA Kings.
While Harley was one of the younger prospects last year, another year has tipped him over the edge and into the team, another year of development, making his NHL debut, and spending time practicing with the NHL team during the playoffs, all helping to make the difference for the promising young offensive-defenseman.
More than any other player, Harley should be used to bubble life in Edmonton.
He went the distance with the Stars in the summer, making his playoff (and NHL) debut against the Colorado Avalanche in the round-robin. He finds himself back in the same hotel, this time with national pride at stake. In fact, Harley joked, that on arriving at the hotel in Edmonton many of his teammates called on his expertise to help set-up their game consoles.
For those, with an interest in US national pride, the US team roster is also loaded with NHL prospects. Though perhaps, it isn’t quite so deep as the Canadian team. The US also faces a tougher route to the Quarter Finals. The only real threat to Canada in the round-robin stage is the Finnish team.
The US, in Group B, must face both Russia and Sweden in the group stage if they are to advance.
The NHL is preparing to open next season on Jan. 13 after starting training camp on New Year’s Day, according to reports
Here's what we know so far: https://t.co/7423OO7I7R pic.twitter.com/Y3xCrKkzf4
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) December 9, 2020
The tournament reaches its climax on the 5th of January and the next stop for Harley might be NHL training camp.
Many players appear to be returning to their in-season homes, and the current buzz is that the NHL and the NHLPA are targeting an early January start to training camps and a mid-January season opener.
Featured Image: Jeff Roberson/AP