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Photo Credit: Leijonat / Twitter

Toni Utunen named to Finland’s World Junior Camp

The lead up to the World Juniors has begun with the announcements of evaluation camp rosters be released.

The United States and Canada are expected to announce their camp invites later today but some of the Scandinavian countries have already done so today and a Canucks prospect was among the players included for Finland:

2018 5th round pick Toni Utunen was expected to be an invite for Suomi after representing them throughout the last few years at the various international tournaments. But there is a higher chance of him making the final team simply because of the high-end defenceman available are plying their trade in the NHL:

If Miro Heiskanen, Henri Jokiharju, and Urho Vaakanainen were available, it’s unlikely that Utunen would make the final team but the expected absence of all three opens up a lot of spaces for players like Utunen. The Finnish team is relying heavily on their 18-year-old and 17-year-old players this year, and Utunen will be part of that.

Although Utunen has been limited to one assist this season with Tappara (Liiga), he has been able to get reasonable minutes in a professional men’s league and has held his own. Known primarily for his defensive abilities and leadership, Utunen will be looked upon to provide those elements at the World Juniors this year. It is worth noting that Utunen was named the Finnish team captain for the U20 Four Nations Cup this past month and played fairly well.

Even if Utunen doesn’t make the final cut, he is eligible for next year’s tournament as well.

  • TheTruth

    Sorry to tell you canucsfans. Apologize my not so good english as a finn, but my prediction about Utunen will be a big disappointment. I’ve had a chance to follow him as a player about last five years. I think, he’s the most luckiest junior player I’ve EVER seen to get that point of career, as he’s now, with such a low”hockeyskills”. That can be seen season by season, while his points just gets lower and lower from those earlier junioryears, when he used to be as coaches “favoriteplayer”. There were numerous amount of junior defenceplayer, who were more skillfull players, but Toni this and Toni that.. Anyway, as I mentioned that disappointment about expections Utunen as a NHL-player, You will see that for example his ability handling a puck and his overall “seeing the game itself in the ring” are NEVER enought to play in NHL. He’s always busy, rushing here and there, under offensive-pressure always in trouble, ability to open the game to offensives very poor and on and on.. As well as not so big/strong player, he’ll be in trouble. Why he did better earlier years, were due to his early fysichal development, that were valued by juniorcoaches. Now fans you have at least one chance to follow things I mentoined, when Finns will meet your U-20 NationalTeam this Thursday(?).