After the turkey, ham, or whatever your pleasure is consumed for Christmas dinner, Senators’ fans will be able to sit, relax, change into their sweats, if they weren’t already, and watch as many as four of the team’s prospects come 6pm ET.
First up will be the highly-anticipated World Junior tourney debut of the Senators’ 2020 third-overall pick Tim Stuetzle. Stueztle and his German countrymen will face Finland, whose lineup includes rising forward Roby Jarventie. The early surprise of the Finnish Liiga, Jarventie was Ottawa’s first of three second-round selections.
One hour after Germany-Finland concludes, two of the tournaments heaviest-hitters, Russia and the United States take to the ice at 9:30pm. Team USA features a pair of Senators’ prospect defensemen on their roster in University of North Dakota teammates Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven.
For Stuetzle, it will be his first-octane game action since breaking a bone in his hand while training with his club team, Mannheim Eagles in the German professional league, DEL. The Germans do have two pre-tournament games scheduled for December 21 and 23. The games will also be the first glimpse for most Sens’ fans and coaches alike to see the youngster play.
With the medals being handed out January 5, and Stueztle’s run with Germany likely completed prior to this date, Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion is hoping to get their top draft selection signed to an entry-level contract in time for his club’s main training camp.
Jarventie will most-certainly be an intriguing player to watch in this tournament. At 18-years old, the young Finn is already establishing himself as a goal-scorer in the tough SM-Liiga. A teammate of Senators 2019 no.1 d-man Lassi Thomson with Ilves, the left wing has compiled seven goals, seven assists in 19 games this season.
In what’s generally known as a tournament for 19-year olds to shine, Jarventie will have to continue his regular season scoring exploits to insure ice time.
— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 12, 2020
Sanderson made his freshman debut for UND versus Miami-Ohio December 2nd. Two nights later, the Senators’ 2020 fifth-overall draft pick notched his first collegiate points, one goal, one assist in spectacular fashion – during a 4-3 victory over the Denver Pioneers.
Jake Sanderson with another outstanding play.
He walks into the offensive zone 1 on 3 before feeding a perfect pass to the point- resulting in a goal. Wow. pic.twitter.com/Ol9eWOvZfk
— Everyday.Sens (@EverydaySens) December 5, 2020
The son of two-time NHL 40-goal scorer Geoff, also added a helper in his final game prior to heading to the United States preliminary camp.
USA head coach Nate Leaman offered high praise to Sanderson Saturday.
“You can’t look at Jake and say there’s a glaring weakness in his game whatsoever. I would expect Jake to log a lot of minutes for our defensive core.”
Kleven’s road to the USA World Junior roster is an emotional rollercoaster. Invited USA’s camp in October, the burly d-man was left off their WJ preliminary roster. The UND freshman was a late add after Boston U D Alex Vlasic tested positive for COVID-19.
Expected to be a camp fill-in, the six-foot-four, 200-pound blue-liner was named to the team’s final roster after three forwards were deemed unavailable. Bruins no.1 Johnny Beecher failed his final COVID test prior to leaving for the Edmonton bubble. Sharks top 2020 selection Thomas Bordeleau was removed due to being in close contact with Beecher. While Nicholas Robertson will attend Maple Leafs training camp January 3.
It was too late to add more players, so the US chose to remain with nine defensemen.
The Senators traded up in the Draft to select Kleven 44th overall. His new team’s fans hope to see why December 25.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 6, 2020