4 Canucks prospects will play for their countries at the World Juniors

Dec 27 2018, 2:42 am

The rosters are set and the games are ready to begin.

The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off in Vancouver and Victoria on Wednesday. While Canada named its final roster last week, most other countries waited until closer to the deadline.

All four Vancouver Canucks prospects competing for spots have now officially made their respective teams and will represent their countries.

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Here’s a look at who they are:

1. Michael DiPietro (Canada)

Position: Goaltender
3rd round, 64th overall (2017)
Age: 19
Hometown: Amherstburg, ON
Size: 6-foot-0, 205 pounds
2018-19 stats (OHL): 22 GP, 12-8-1, 2.26 GAA, .922 SV%

A Memorial Cup winner before he was drafted by the Canucks in 2017, Michael DiPietro has big game experience. The reigning OHL Goaltender of the Year isn’t short on accolades, posting the best numbers in his junior league this season.

DiPietro is competing with Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott for playing time. How each goalie performs early on will go a long way in determining who gets the start when the knockout round begins.

2. Quinn Hughes (USA)

quinn hughes canucks team usa

Image: Garrett James / Langley Events Centre

Position: Defenceman
1st round, 7th overall (2018)
Age: 19
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Size: 5-foot-10, 175 pounds
2018-19 stats (NCAA): 17 GP, 3 G, 17 A, 20 PTS

Named alternate captain for Team USA, Quinn Hughes will play a big role for his country.

The dynamic offensive defenceman could probably be playing in the NHL right now, but decided to return for a second year of college hockey at the University of Michigan. So far, he’s thriving as one of the highest-scoring defencemen in the NCAA.

3. Tyler Madden (USA)

Position: Centre
3rd round, 68th overall (2018)
Age: 19
Hometown: Hartford, CT
Size: 5-foot-11, 150 pounds
2018-19 stats (NCAA): 14 GP, 6 G, 9 A, 15 PTS

A third-round pick by the Canucks last June, Tyler Madden is enjoying an excellent season at Northeastern in his first year of college hockey. The son of former NHL player John Madden, he has better than a point-per-game average as a freshman, which propelled him to a spot on Team USA.

4. Toni Utunen (Finland)

Position: Defenceman
5th round, 130th overall (2018)
Age: 18
Hometown: Kokkola, Finland
Size: 5-foot-11, 170 pounds
2018-19 stats (Liiga): 21 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PTS

Captain of Finland’s team at the U18 World Championships last year, Toni Utunen was named to the World Junior team on Christmas Day. The Canucks’ fifth-round pick plays for Tappara in the top pro league in Finland.

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