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2020 World Junior Championship rosters – NHL.com

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The list includes their two first-round picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, United States forward Alex Turcotte (No. 5) and Sweden defenseman Tobias Bjornfot (No. 22).

“The entire organization is excited for all our prospects who will be representing their country in this year’s World Juniors,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said. “It’s an honor to compete in this tournament and that’s a credit to the hard work they’ve all put in. We look forward to watching them take another step in their development.”

The Arizona Coyotes are second with seven prospects, followed by the Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers with five each. All 31 teams will have at least one player participating.

The 2020 WJC runs from Thursday through Jan. 5, in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic. The 10 teams are split into two groups. Group A consists of defending champion Finland, along with Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Kazakhstan and will play its preliminary-round games at Werk Arena in Trinec. Group B features the United States, Canada, Russia, Czech Republic and Germany and will play its round-robin games at Ostravar Arena in Ostrava.

NHL Network will broadcast live 20 games, including every U.S. game, as well as all games in the medal round.

World Junior Championship Rosters
Canada

Goalies

Nicolas Daws, Guelph, OHL (2020 draft eligible)

Joel Hofer, Portland, WHL (St. Louis Blues)

Olivier Rodrigue, Moncton, QMJHJL (Edmonton Oilers)

Defensemen

Calen Addison, Lethbridge, WHL (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Kevin Bahl, Ottawa, OHL (New Jersey Devils)

Jacob Bernard-Docker, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators)

Bowen Byram, Vancouver, WHL (Colorado Avalanche)

Jamie Drysdale, Erie, OHL (2020 draft eligible)

Jared McIsaac, Halifax, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings)

Ty Smith, Spokane, WHL (New Jersey Devils)

Forwards

Quinton Byfield, Sudbury, OHL (2020 draft eligible)

Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge, WHL (Buffalo Sabres)

Ty Dellandrea, Flint, OHL (Dallas Stars)

Aidan Dudas, Owen Sound, OHL (Los Angeles Kings)

Nolan Foote, Kelowna, WHL (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Liam Foudy, London, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Barrett Hayton, Arizona Coyotes

Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Raphael Lavoie, Halifax, QMJHL (Edmonton Oilers)

Connor McMichael, London, OHL (Washington Capitals)

Dawson Mercer, Drummondville, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Akil Thomas, Niagara, OHL (Los Angeles Kings)

Joseph Veleno, Grand Rapids, AHL (Detroit Red Wings)

Czech Republic

Goalies

Lukas Dostal, Ilves, Liiga (Anaheim Ducks)

Nick Malik, Frydek-Mistek, Czech 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Lukas Parik, Spokane, WHL (Los Angeles Kings)

Defensemen

Tomas Dajcar, Litomerice, Czech 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Martin Has, Koovee, Finland 2nd division (Washington Capitals)

Karel Klikorka, ML. Boleslav Jr., Czech Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Simon Kubicek, Seattle, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Radek Kucerik, Saskatoon, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Ivan Lytvynov, Ceske Budejovice, Czech 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Libor Zabransky, Moose Jaw, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Forwards

Matej Blumel, Pardubice, Czech Extraliga (Edmonton Oilers)

Petr Cajka, Geneve Jr., Swiss Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Jan Jenik, Hamilton, OHL (Arizona Coyotes)

Jakub Lauko, Providence, AHL (Boston Bruins)

Jan Mysak, Litvinov, Czech Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Ondrej Pavel, Fargo, USHL (2020 draft eligible)

Matej Pekar, Barrie, OHL (Buffalo Sabres)

Karel Plasek, Brno, Czech Extraliga (Vancouver Canucks)

Jaromir Pytlik, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (2020 draft eligible)

Adam Raska, Rimouski, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Otakar Sik, Litomerice, Czech 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Jan Sir, Liberec, Czech Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Michal Teply, Winnipeg, WHL (Chicago Blackhawks)

Finland

Goalies

Justus Annunen, Karpat, Liiga (Colorado Avalanche)

Jasper Patrikainen, Pelicans, Liiga (2020 draft eligible)

Kari Piiroinen, Windsor, OHL (2020 draft eligible)

Defensemen

Santeri Hatakka, Ilves, Liiga (San Jose Sharks)

Ville Heinola, Lukko, Liiga (Winnipeg Jets)

Anttoni Honka, JYP, Liiga (Carolina Hurricanes)

Mikko Kokkonen, Jukurit, Liiga (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Kim Nousiainen, Kalpa, Liiga (Los Angeles Kings)

Peetro Seppala, Kookoo, Liiga (2020 draft eligible)

Lassi Thomson, Ilves, Liiga (Ottawa Senators)

Toni Utunen, Tappara, Liiga (Vancouver Canucks)

Forwards

Eemil Erholtz, Sport, Liiga (2020 draft eligible)

Lenni Killinen, Assat, Liiga (Carolina Hurricanes)

Rasmus Kupari, Ontario, AHL (Los Angeles Kings)

Matias Maccelli, Ilves, Liiga (Arizona Coyotes)

Joonas Oden, Kookoo, Liiga (2020 draft eligible)

Ville Petman, Lukko, Liiga (2020 draft eligible)

Patrik Puistola, Jukurit, Liiga (Carolina Hurricanes)

Sampo Ranta, Minnesota, BIG 10 (Colorado Avalanche)

Aatu Raty, Karpat Jr., Finland Jr. league (2021 draft eligible)

Aku Raty, Karpat Jr, Finland Jr. league (Arizona Coyotes)

Antti Saarela, Ilves, Liiga (Chicago Blackhawks)

Kristian Tanus, Jukurit, Liiga (2020 draft eligible)

Germany

Goalies

Tobias Ancicka, Lukko Jr., Finland Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Hendrik Hane, Dusseldorf, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Philipp Maurer, Landshut, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Defensemen

Alexander Dersch, Dusseldorf, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Niklas Heinzinger Bad Tolz Jr., Germany Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Leon Huttl, Lowen, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Philip Mass, EC Salzburg 2, Austria 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Eric Mik, Lausitzer, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Moritz Seider, Grand Rapids, AHL (Detroit Red Wings)

Daniel Wirt, Lowen, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Forwards

Dominik Bokk, Rogle, SHL (Carolina Hurricanes)

Louis Brune, Heilbronn, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Tim Fleischer, Iserlohn, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Taro Jentzsch, Sherbrooke, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Nino Kinder, Winnipeg, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Dennis Lobach, Munchen, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Jan Nijenhuis, Wolfsburg, GER (2020 draft eligible)

John-Jason Peterka, Munchen, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Lukas Reichel, Eisbaren Berlin, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Luis Schinko, Lowen, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Justin Schutz, Munchen, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Tim Stuetzle, Mannheim, GER (2020 draft eligible)

Yannik Valenti, Heilbronn, Germany 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Kazakhstan

Goalies

Roman Kalmykov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Vladislav Nurek, Ust-Kamenogorsk Jr, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Maxim Pavlenko, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Defensemen

Danil Butenko, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Madi Dikhanbek, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Tamirlan Gaitamirov, Des Moines, USHL (2020 draft eligible)

Timofei Katasonov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Artyom Korolyov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

David Muratov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Vladimir Shlychkov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Forwards

Stanislav Alexandrov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Yusup Asukhanov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Konstantin Bondarenko, Ust-Kamenogorsk Jr, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Oleg Boiko, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Andrei Buyalsky, Temirtau, KAZ (2020 draft eligible)

Maxim Chalov, Ust-Kamenogorsk Jr, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Denis Chaporov, Temirtau, KAZ (2020 draft eligible)

Ruslan Demin, Temirtau, KAZ (2020 draft eligible)

Nikita Lyapunov, Ust-Kamenogorsk Jr, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Maxim Musorov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Alikhan Omirbekov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Vladislav Saiko, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Ansar Shaikhmeddenov, Barys 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Russia

Goalies

Yaroslav Askarov, Neva St. Petersburg, Russia 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Daniil Isayev, Yaroslavl, KHL (2020 draft eligible)

Amir Miftakhov, Bars Kazan, Russia 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Defensemen

Danila Galeniuk, St. Petersburg, KHL (2020 draft eligible)

Anton Malyshev, Yaroslavl 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Daniil Misyul, Yaroslavl, KHL (New Jersey Devils)

Daniil Pylenkov, Podolsk, KHL (2020 draft eligible)

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL (Montreal Canadiens)

Egor Zamula, Calgary, WHL (Philadelphia Flyers)

Danila Zhuravlyov, Kazan, KHL (Anaheim Ducks)

Forwards

Nikita Alexandrov, Charlottetown, QMJHL (St. Louis Blues)

Grigori Denisenko, Yaroslavl, KHL (Florida Panthers)

Pavel Dorofeyev, Magnitogorsk, KHL (Vegas Golden Knights)

Maxim Groshev, Nizhnekamsk, KHL (2020 draft eligible)

Alexander Khovanov, Moncton, QMJHL (Minnesota Wild)

Ilya Kruglov, Dynamo Moscow 2, Russia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Kirill Marchenko, St. Petersburg, KHL (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Ivan Morozov, Neva St. Petersburg, Russia 2nd division (Vegas Golden Knights)

Vasily Podkolzin, St. Petersburg, KHL (Vancouver Canucks)

Nikita Rtishchev, CSKA, KHL (2020 draft eligible)

Egor Sokolov, Cape Breton, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Dmitri Voronkov, Kazan, KHL (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Slovakia

Goalies

Samuel Hlavaj, Sherbrooke, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Jakub Lackovic, Zilina Jr., Slovakia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Samuel Vyletelka, Lincoln, USHL (2020 draft eligible)

Defensemen

Martin Bucko, Kosice, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Boris Cesanek, Poprad, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Marcel Dlugos, Nove Zamky, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Samuel Knazko, TPS Jr., Finland Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

David Mudrak, TPS Jr., Finland Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Marko Stacha, Trencin, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Oliver Turan, Detva, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Martin Vitalos, Rogle, Jr., Sweden Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Forwards

Maxim Cajkovic, Saint John, QMJHL (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Viktor Durina, Trencin, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Robert Dzugan, Trencin, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Martin Fasko-Rudas, Everett, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Nicolas Ferenyi, Trencin Jr., Slovakia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Dominik Jendek, Bratislava Jr., Slovakia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Kristian Kovacik, Trencin, Slovak Extraliga (2020 draft eligible)

Jakub Minarik, Nitra Jr., Slovakia Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Marek Minarik, Zilina, Slovakia 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Michal Mrazik, F, Linkoping Jr., Sweden Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Oliver Okuliar, Lethbridge, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Adam Pauliny, F, Martin, SVK-2 (2020 draft eligible)

Daniel Tkac, Merritt, BCHL (2020 draft eligible) 

Sweden

Goalies

Hugo Alnefelt, HV 71 Jr., Sweden Jr. league (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Jesper Eliasson, Almtuna, Sweden 2nd division (Detroit Red Wings)

Erik Portillo, Dubuque, USHL (Buffalo Sabres)

Defensemen

Tobias Bjornfot, Djurgarden, SHL (Los Angeles Kings)

Philip Broberg, Skelleftea, SHL (Edmonton Oilers)

Adam Ginning, Linkoping, SHL (Philadelphia Flyers)

Nils Lundkvist, Lulea, SHL (New York Rangers)

Mattias Norlinder, Modo, Sweden 2nd division (Montreal Canadiens)

Rasmus Sandin, Toronto, AHL (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Victor Soderstrom, Brynas, SHL (Arizona Coyotes)

Forwards

Oskar Back, Farjestad, SHL (Dallas Stars)

Jonatan Berggren, Skelleftea, SHL (Detroit Red Wings)

Albin Eriksson, Skelleftea, SHL (Dallas Stars)

Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda, SHL (Los Angeles Kings)

David Gustafsson, Winnipeg Jets

Hugo Gustafsson, Sodertalje, Sweden 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Karl Henriksson, Frolunda Jr., Sweden Jr. league (New York Rangers)

Nils Hoglander, Rogle, SHL (Vancouver Canucks)

Alexander Holtz, Djurgarden, SHL (2020 draft eligible)

Linus Nassen, Timra, Sweden 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Linus Oberg, Orebro Jr., Sweden Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Nikola Pasic, Karlskoga, Sweden 2nd division (New Jersey Devils)

Lucas Raymond, Frolunda, SHL (2020 draft eligible)

Switzerland

Goalies

Stephane Charlin, Sierre, Swiss 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Luca Hollenstein, Zug Academy, Swiss 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Akira Schmid, Omaha, USHL (New Jersey Devils)

Defensemen

David Aebischer, Gatineau, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Tim Berni, Zurich, National League, (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Nico Gross, Oshawa, OHL (New York Rangers)

Bastian Guggenheim, Langnau Jr., Swiss Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Mika Henauer, Bern, National League (2020 draft eligible)

Janis Moser, Biel, National League (2020 draft eligible)

Rocco Pezzullo, Ambri Jr., Swiss Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Forwards

Fabian Berri, GCK Zurich Jr., Swiss Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Jeremi Gerber, Bern, National League (2020 draft eligible)

Gaetan Jobin, Charlottetown, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible)

Simon Knak, Portland, WHL (2020 draft eligible)

Gilian Kohler, Biel, National League (2020 draft eligible)

Julian Mettler, Kloten, Swiss 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Valentin Nussbaumer, Shawinigan, QMJHL (Arizona Coyotes)

Stephane Patry, Geneve Jr., Swiss Jr. league (2020 draft eligible)

Joel Salzgeber, Olten, Swiss 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

Sandro Schmid, Fribourg, National League (2020 draft eligible)

Kyen Sopa, Niagara, OHL (2020 draft eligible)

Matthew Verboon, Colgate, ECAC (2020 draft eligible)

Gian-Marco Wetter, Biasca, Swiss 2nd division (2020 draft eligible)

United States

Goalies

Spencer Knight, Boston College, H-EAST, (Florida Panthers)

Isaiah Saville, Nebraska-Omaha, NCHC (Vegas Golden Knights)

Dustin Wolf, Everett, WHL (Calgary Flames)

Defensemen

Ty Emberson, Wisconsin, Big Ten (Arizona Coyotes)

Jordan Harris, Northeastern, H-EAST (Montreal Canadiens)

Zachary Jones, UMass, H-EAST (New York Rangers)

K’Andre Miller, Wisconsin, Big Ten (New York Rangers)

Mattias Samuelsson, Western Michigan, NCHC (Buffalo Sabres)

Spencer Stastney, Notre Dame, Big Ten (Nashville Predators)

Cameron York, Michigan, Big Ten (Philadelphia Flyers)

Forwards

John Beecher, Michigan, Big Ten (Boston Bruins)

Bobby Brink, Denver, NCHC (Philadelphia Flyers)

Cole Caufield, Wisconsin, Big Ten (Montreal Canadiens)

Jack Drury, Harvard, ECAC (Carolina Hurricanes)

Parker Ford, Providence, H-EAST (2020 draft eligible)

Curtis Hall, Yale, ECAC (Boston Bruins)

Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton, OHL (Los Angeles Kings)

Shane Pinto, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators)

Jacob Pivonka, Notre Dame, Big Ten (New York Islanders)

Nicholas Robertson, Peterborough, OHL (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Alex Turcotte, Wisconsin, Big Ten (Los Angeles Kings)

Oliver Wahlstrom, Bridgeport, AHL (New York Islanders)

Trevor Zegras, Boston University, H-EAST (Anaheim Ducks)

Players drafted by NHL teams

Los Angeles Kings (9) — SWE- Tobias Bjornfot, D, Djurgarden, SHL; CAN- Aidan Dudas, F, Owen Sound, OHL; SWE-Samuel Fagemo, F, Frolunda, SHL; USA- Arthur Kaliyev, F, Hamilton, OHL; FIN- Rasmus Kupari, F, Ontario, AHL; FIN- Kim Nousiainen, D, Kalpa, Liiga; CZE- Lukas Parik, G, Spokane, WHL; CAN- Akil Thomas, F, Niagara, OHL; USA- Alex Turcotte, F, Wisconsin, Big Ten

Arizona Coyotes (7) — USA- Ty Emberson, D, Wisconsin, Big Ten; CAN- Barrett Hayton, F, Arizona; CZE- Jan Jenik, F, Hamilton, OHL; FIN- Matias Maccelli, F, Ilves, Liiga; SUI- Valentin Nussbaumer, F, Shawinigan, QMJHL; FIN- Aku Raty, F, Karpat Jr, Finland Jr. league; SWE- Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas, SHL

Carolina Hurricanes (5) — GER- Dominik Bokk, F, Rogle, SHL; USA- Jack Drury, F, Harvard, ECAC; FIN- Anttoni Honka, D, JYP, Liiga; FIN- Lenni Killinen, F, Assat, Liiga; FIN- Patrik Puistola, F, Jukurit, Liiga

Detroit Red Wings (5) — SWE- Jonatan Berggren, F, Skelleftea, SHL; SWE- Jesper Eliasson, G, Almtuna, Sweden 2nd division; CAN- Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax, QMJHL; GER- Moritz Seider, D, Grand Rapids, AHL; CAN- Joseph Veleno, F, Grand Rapids, AHL

New Jersey Devils (5) — CAN- Kevin Bahl, D, Ottawa, OHL; RUS- Daniil Misyul, D, Yaroslavl, KHL; SWE- Nikola Pasic, F, Karlskoga, Sweden 2nd division; SUI- Akira Schmid, G, Omaha, USHL; CAN- Ty Smith, D, Spokane, WHL

New York Rangers (5) — SUI- Nico Gross, D, Oshawa, OHL; SWE- Karl Henriksson, F, Frolunda Jr., Sweden Jr. league; USA- Zachary Jones, D, UMass, H-EAST; SWE- Nils Lundkvist, D, Lulea, SHL; USA- K’Andre Miller, D, Wisconsin, Big TenColumbus Blue Jackest (4) — SUI- Tim Berni, D, Zurich, National League; CAN- Liam Foudy, F, London, OHL; RUS- Kirill Marchenko, F, St. Petersburg, KHL; RUS- Dmitri Voronkov, F, Kazan, KHL

Edmonton Oilers (4) — CZE- Matej Blumel, F, Pardubice, Czech Extraliga; SWE- Philip Broberg, D, Skelleftea, SHL; CAN- Raphael Lavoie, F, Halifax, QMJHL; CAN- Olivier Rodrigue, G, Moncton, QMJHJL

Montreal Canadiens (4) — USA- Cole Caufield, F, Wisconsin, Big Ten; USA- Jordan Harris, D, Northeastern, H-EAST; SWE- Mattias Norlinder, D, Modo, Sweden 2nd division; RUS- Alexander Romanov, D, CSKA, KHL

Philadelphia Flyers (4) — USA- Bobby Brink, F, Denver, NCHC; SWE- Adam Ginning, D, Linkoping, SHL; USA- Cameron York, D, Michigan, Big Ten; RUS- Egor Zamula, D, Calgary, WHL

Vancouver Canucks (4) — SWE- Nils Hoglander, F, Rogle, SHL; CZE- Karel Plasek, F, Brno, Czech Extraliga; RUS- Vasily Podkolzin, F, St. Petersburg, KHL; FIN- Toni Utunen, D, Tappara, Liiga

Anaheim Ducks (3) — CZE- Lukas Dostal, G, Ilves, Liiga; USA- Trevor Zegras, F, Boston University, H-EAST; RUS- Danila Zhuravlyov, D, Kazan, KHL

Boston Bruins (3) — USA- John Beecher, F, Michigan, Big Ten; USA- Curtis Hall, F, Yale, ECAC; CZE- Jakub Lauko, F, Providence, AHL

Buffalo Sabres (3) — CAN- Dylan Cozens, F, Lethbridge, WHL; SWE- Erik Portillo, G, Dubuque, USHL; USA- Mattias Samuelsson, D, Western Michigan, NCHC

Colorado Avalanche (3) — FIN- Justus Annunen, G, Karpat, Liiga; CAN- Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver, WHL; FIN- Sampo Ranta, F, Minnesota, Big Ten

Dallas Stars (3) — SWE- Oskar Back, F, Farjestad, SHL; CAN- Ty Dellandrea, F, Flint, OHL; SWE- Albin Eriksson, F, Skelleftea, SHL

Ottawa Senators (3) — CAN- Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, North Dakota, NCHC; USA- Shane Pinto, F, North Dakota, NCHC; FIN- Lassi Thomson, D, Ilves, Liiga

Tampa Bay Lightning (3) — SWE- Hugo Alnefelt, G, HV 71 Jr., Sweden Jr. league; SVK- Maxim Cajkovic, F, Saint John, QMJHL; CAN- Nolan Foote, F, Kelowna, WHL

Toronto Maple Leafs (3) — FIN- Mikko Kokkonen, D, Jukurit, Liiga; USA- Nicholas Robertson, F, Peterborough, OHL; SWE- Rasmus Sandin, D, Toronto, AHL

Vegas Golden Knights (3) — RUS- Pavel Dorofeyev, F, Magnitogorsk, KHL; RUS- Ivan Morozov, F, Neva St. Petersburg, Russia 2nd division; USA- Isaiah Saville, G, Nebraska-Omaha, NCHC

Chicago Blackhawks (2) — FIN- Antti Saarela, F, Ilves, Liiga; CZE- Michal Teply, F, Winnipeg, WHL

Florida Panthers (2) — RUS- Grigori Denisenko, F, Yaroslavl, KHL; USA- Spencer Knight, G, Boston College, H-EAST

New York Islanders (2) — USA- Jacob Pivonka, F, Notre Dame, Big Ten; USA- Oliver Wahlstrom, F, Bridgeport, AHL

Nashville Predators (2) — CZE- Matej Pekar, F, Barrie, OHL; USA- Spencer Stastney, D, Notre Dame, Big Ten

St. Louis Blues (2) — RUS- Nikita Alexandrov, F, Charlottetown, QMJHL; CAN- Joel Hofer, G, Portland, WHL

Washington Capitals (2) — CZE- Martin Has, D, Koovee, Finland 2nd division; CAN- Connor McMichael, F, London, OHL

Winnipeg Jets (2) — SWE- David Gustafsson, F, Winnipeg; FIN- Ville Heinola, D, Lukko, Liiga

Calgary Flames (1) — USA- Dustin Wolf, G, Everett, WHL

Minnesota Wild (1) — RUS- Alexander Khovanov, F, Moncton, QMJHL

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) — CAN- Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge, WHL

San Jose Sharks (1) — FIN- Santeri Hatakka, D, Ilves, Liiga

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Murray blows minds, but Lakers’ defence shines late in Game 4 vs. Nuggets – Sportsnet.ca

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The Denver Nuggets must really like being down 3–1.

On Thursday night, they became the first NBA team — and will likely remain the only team for at least a very, very long time — to go down 3–1 three separate times in the same playoff run. 

Not that it was an academic win for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, however. The game was tight throughout before the Lakers came up with a huge three-and-a-half minute defensive stand at the end of the fourth quarter to seal it 114–108.

Here are a few takeaways from the game:

All eyes on Murray

After Jamal Murray‘s performance in Game 3 — 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 48 minutes — Nuggets head coach Mike Malone and Nikola Jokic both called him a “superstar,” and a bunch of national media seemed to agree. That’s as big a “reading his own press clippings” trap as there ever was. But it didn’t seem to affect Murray at all.

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He started 3-for-3 for six points in the game’s first four minutes en route to 32 in the game. 

Anything you can do…

Yes, Murray is a superstar. But the Lakers have two of those, too, and one of them came out of the gate even hotter than the guard from Kitchener, Ont. Anthony Davis scored the Lakers’ first 10 points, and started the game hitting his first seven shots.

Throughout the night, the Nuggets threw several defenders at him — from Jokic to Mason Plumlee to Paul Millsap — but none of them had much success. And when the Nuggets doubled, Davis found a couple of open shooters, leading to one clean early LeBron James look that resulted in three points.

He also had a hand in keeping Jokic’s contributions low, putting him in foul trouble and getting to the line a ton. Davis finished with 34 points on only 15 shots from the field — which is pretty damn good.

This is just a really nice pass

Did we mention Murray had a nice game? With the Lakers absolutely terrified of him putting the ball in the air in the first quarter, he drew the defence to him and did this:

Point: Vogel

I don’t want to say it, but here it is: the playoffs are about adjustments. The Lakers got killed on the glass in Game 3, getting outrebounded by the Nuggets 44–25. In that game, starting centre Javale McGee and backup Dwight Howard combined for two boards. 

So ahead of Game 4, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel moved Howard into the starting lineup, and was rewarded handsomely. Howard set the tone early in the first quarter with four straight points off putbacks. And he was just getting started. In the first half, he totalled 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting with 10 rebounds. 

And Howard wasn’t the only one getting in on the offensive glass. The Lakers outscored the Nuggets 18–2 on second-chance points in the first half alone — essentially nullifying Denver’s super-hot shooting performance — and went into the break up by five.

By the end of the game, the Lakers had bested their previous game’s rebound total by 16 and outboarded their opponents 41–33.

Yes, but back to Murray

Oh my:

After Murray hit that layup with 2:30 left in the second quarter, Reggie Miller said on the TNT broadcast that he’s going to get some Michael Jordan comparisons, and Chris Webber started laughing. He was going to say the same thing but thought he’d get killed for it. Guess not. So we’re officially in the “legitimate comparisons to MJ” stage of Murray’s insane playoff run.

The surge in appreciation for Murray isn’t just due to the consistency, efficiency and fourth-quarter bankability — it’s those things coupled with the degree of difficulty on a surprisingly large number of his shots. Spinning layups into shot-blockers? Faux-Euro-step straight-on bankers? Abrupt, no-lift floaters from in-between distances? He’s got all that and more, and he’s one of the most exciting players in the NBA because of it.

Shooting guards

Danny Green has taken some heat from Lakers fans and general NBA watchers for his poor shooting in these playoffs, but what if I told you he hasn’t even been the worst-shooting starting shooting guard in this series?

After averaging 10.7 points on 50 per cent shooting (41.7 percent from deep) with nearly two steals per game in the Clippers series, Nuggets guard Gary Harris is putting up 4.5 points on sub-25 per cent shooting against the Lakers. He put up just three points Thursday in a playoff-low 19 minutes.

Suddenly Green’s 7.8 points on 28.6 per cent shooting in the first three games don’t look that bad. (Sort of.)

Shutdown defence

Despite the fact that Jokic had a rare quiet performance, the Nuggets kept this game within reach thanks to Murray — seriously, did we mention him? — and solid contributions from Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris, who finished with 17, 13 and 12 points, respectively.

But in the waning minutes of the game, James took over primary defence on Murray, and forced him into two missed running bank shots, which, given his performance to that point, was kind of jarring. (Full disclosure: Slow-mo replay of one of the shots made a James block look like a foul, but it wasn’t called.)

After the game, Vogel told reporters James asked for the assignment.

“LeBron asked for the assignment and obviously I granted it. He did a great job down the stretch,” Vogel said. “Nothing was really working to slow him down until LeBron took that assignment, so game ball to him.”

The Nuggets managed to shrink the Laker lead to three points on Morris’s and-one at the 3:28 mark, but missed all five of their shots afterwards. Game, Lakers, and now the Nuggets are left trying to come back from 3–1 — for a third time.

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Clutch for the clinch: Ryu brilliance stymies Yanks as Blue Jays lock up playoff spot – Toronto Sun

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays dives safe to home plate as Kyle Higashioka of the New York Yankees misses the tag during the sixth inning at Sahlen Field on September 24, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig /Getty Images

When Alejandro Kirk ripped a two-RBI double into the left-field corner to score two more in the sixth, not only did the legend of the 21-year-old catcher grow yet again, the Jays had doubled their lead to 4-0 and the socially-distanced (somewhat) celebration was that much nearer.

The anticipation was tantalizing the rest of the way and when reliever Rafael Dolis got the final out, the Jays spilled out of their dugout to celebrate. The ear-to-ear smile of manager Charlie Montoyo could be seen beneath his mask as the players and donned t-shirts that blared “Respect Toronto.”

“I’m just so proud of my club and everything we’ve gone through all year,” an emotional Montoyo said on a post-game Zoom call. “The ups and downs, the tough games. we kept believing in ourselves. “It’s awesome I’m the happiest guy right now.”

The second-year manager was not without company, especially from the young core of his team, most of whom played together at multiple levels in the minor leagues.

“We pictured bringing a winning mindset to Toronto and the major league level,” Biggio said. “In my mind this is just the start of it. We played with a little bit of an edge and we worked our way here.”

Even with the elevated stakes, it was clear from the outset that the Jays were playing with a sense of purpose on Thursday.

They were crisp and near flawless on defence, no more so than a running catch at the top of the wall by Randal Grichuk to end the eighth inning with the bases loaded.

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From homeless to playoff bound, Toronto Blue Jays' wild 2020 ride isn't over yet – TSN

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TORONTO — Three months ago, the Toronto Blue Jays barely had a home.

Now, they have a spot in the postseason.

Call it entertaining.

Call it fortunate.

Call it a good stepping stone.

Call it the start of a Cinderella run.

You can call it whatever you want, and assess it in many different ways.

But in the shortened 60-game sprint with expanded playoffs, the Blue Jays did what they needed to do to become one of eight American League teams to move on, and despite what looks to be an uphill battle against one of the best teams in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays, there’s both belief internally and lots of daily evidence across baseball that absolutely anything can happen in a three-game series.

Based on how this season has gone for a young and inconsistent ballclub that authored a seemingly endless string of comeback wins, followed by a seemingly endless string of lopsided defeats, in order to clinch their first postseason berth since 2016, expecting the unexpected when the playoffs start next Tuesday is probably the smart bet.

These are the Buffalo Blue Jays, after all, and this is the year 2020.

“Man, I’m just so proud of my club and everything we’ve gone through all year,” manager Charlie Montoyo said amidst the post-game celebrations at Sahlen Field.

“I think the pressure’s off. Honestly. Just go and play and have fun and enjoy it.”

It’s hard to quantify chemistry, but this team has been quarantining together since the month of July began and they believe that’s played a large role in their ability to persevere through adversity.

“I think the biggest thing we’ve had is chemistry,” said Cavan Biggio, a jack-of-all-trades, heart-and-soul player who has been tremendously important to the success of this Blue Jays team on a night in, night out basis. “We’ve been a tight group of guys this whole time. You can make it as bad as it is or as good as you want. Going into our situation, not being able to play in Toronto and coming to Buffalo and playing on the road for the first couple of weeks, we could have easily looked at it as if, ‘Man, our backs are up against the wall, it’s okay if we don’t win this year, it’s kind of a crazy year.’ 

“The way we took it is we’re here for each of us in that locker-room and I think it’s shown over the longevity of this long year with injuries and guys going down and guys stepping in and picking it right up.”

Things didn’t look good when Ken Giles went down on the opening weekend of the season, and Montoyo shouldered the criticism for leaving his star closer on the mound as he winced in pain.

It really didn’t look good when Bo Bichette was lost to a freak knee injury in the middle of August, and Nate Pearson followed with an elbow injury a few days later.

Instead, the Jays took off, going 11-5 to close out the month of August after the Bichette injury.

An extremely inconsistent month of September has followed, but the Jays had done enough to convince GM Ross Atkins to make a push at the deadline, and while they in no way mortgaged the future for an underdog run, that faith has been proven right in the end.

“We have the pieces and we have the depth, but most importantly I think our chemistry is pretty special,” Biggio reiterated.

“Kind of the cool part about this team is we’re never really out of a game,” he added.

It’s the eighth trip to the postseason in franchise history, and this one is truly unique.

From an ongoing pandemic to a 60-game season to significantly expanded playoffs, this October is much, much different than any other and the Blue Jays have without a doubt been beneficiaries.

But when you look at the big picture, it can’t be ignored that the Jays took a leap from a 95-loss team to one that is now guaranteed to finish with at least a .500 record with three relatively meaningless games to go in the regular season.

The offence has gone from one of the league’s worst to top 10 in baseball, averaging around five runs per game.

They paid Hyun-Jin Ryu $80 million over four years to be an ace and he delivered, posting a 2.69 ERA and the Jays went 9-3 in his 12 starts.

Without him, they aren’t a playoff team.

Talent-wise, Biggio, Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez and now Alejandro Kirk form a lineup core that’s only getting better.

Biggio can see that a mile away.

“I think we’re just scratching the surface on what we’re going to be able to do at this level,” Biggio said. “To see it coming out this early on in our careers, it gives us a little glimpse of what we could end up doing in the future.”

Bichette saw it coming together quicker than many imagined back in February.

Before the pandemic. Before expanded playoffs.

“I expect us to compete,” Bichette said to open spring training. “I expect us to do really well. We have a lot more talent than people realize. I don’t think people are taking into account that some of our guys are going to take steps forward and become really impact players.”

The question now is how many more steps forward do they have in them this season?

They’ll start to answer that next week.​

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