There are only a few days until the beginning of the 2015 World Junior Championship in Canada. A few weeks ago there were five Dallas Stars' prospects who were fighting for a spot on their WJC teams. Now there are only three: Julius Honka, Aleksi Makela and Matej Paulovic.
Remi Elie and Jason Dickinson were both on Canada's selection camp roster but neither made the final team. Remi Elie was among the first cuts to the team. The decision to cut him from the team wasn't unexpected with the depth of Canada's forwards.
Jason Dickinson had an unimpressive camp with Canada. Despite the team racking up huge wins against their exhibition game opponents Dickinson was mostly off the scoresheet. The Ottawa Senators decision to loan Curtis Lazar made it almost certain that Dickinson would be left off the final roster for Canada. The final cut came down on Friday.
The Dallas Stars decision to allow Julius Honka to play for Finland means that Finland's blueline will likely feature two Dallas Stars prospects. Julius Honka will likely form part of the top defensive pairing, Aleksi Makela could grab a spot on the Finns' second defensive pairing as they defend their gold from last year.
This will be Honka's second WJC as he is one of several Finns to return from last year's team. Aleksi Makela gets his first WJC after a solid performance in the Liiga for most of the year. Makela isn't a flashy offensive player like Honka but his all around but defensive orientated skillset will help the Finns out. It'll also give prospect watchers their first glimpse of their seventh round pick in 2013.
Finland won't finalise its roster until Christmas Day so it is possible that Makela is still cut but all indications seem to be that he has a firm grip on a spot on the team. The current roster, before the final cuts, can be found here.
The third and final Dallas Stars prospect to be at the World Juniors is Matej Paulovic. Slovakia selected him as part of their team for the second year and he is one of only several drafted players on their team. Paulovic has done quite well in the USHL this year with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and will be relied upon by Slovakia to be a force up front.
It'll be a chance to showcase his talent to both the Dallas Stars organisation and potential teams next season when he is no longer eligible for the USHL.
We'll be covering the World Junior Championship closely at Defending Big D with daily updates on upcoming games, recaps of the previous day's games, the performance of Dallas Stars prospects and any draft eligibles that impress. We'll have an overview of the entire tournament coming up tomorrow.
You can find the schedule online at the IIHF website.