The Boxing Day tradition of World Junior Championship hockey started this morning when Russia faced off against the Czech Republic. I was just brushing the sleep out of my eyes at noon today, as I recover from the good food, wine, and time spent with family and friends the last two days.
I hope each of you were able to do a little bit of the same.
Now that things are starting to slowly progress towards regular programming, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at who Dallas Stars fans should be watching during the WJC this year. It’s a big change from the years in which Dallas may have sent only one or two prospects, as this year they have seven representing five different countries.
It speaks volumes to the work general manager Jim Nill is doing to re-stock the prospect cupboards at all levels for Dallas. Without further ado, here is who Dallas Stars fans should be watching in the tournament.
Finland: D Miro Heiskanen
The Stars 3rd overall pick from this summer, Heiskanen is the biggest one to watch in the tournament for Dallas fans. He’s having a solid season so far in Liiga playing against older, bigger players, scoring nine goals and 14 points in 20 games.
Canada: G Colton Point
Point has been having an outstanding year at Colgate, posting a 1.90 goals against average and .938 save percentage in 19 games so far. He wasn’t originally on Canada’s preliminary roster but his play earned him a spot on the final roster.
USA: F Riley Tufte and G Jake Oettinger
The Stars first round pick from 2016 (Tufte) joins last year’s WJC goaltender (and the Stars’ second first round pick this summer) Oettinger as Team USA tries to win gold in back-to-back years.
Sweden: C Frederik Karlstrom
Center Karlstrom was drafted by Dallas in the third round in 2016. He’s scored one goal and three points playing in 26 games Linkoping HC of the SHL so far this season.
Czech Republic: D Ondrej Vala
Vala has appeared in 31 games for the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL, recording seven goals and 20 points so far this season. He’s an assistant captain on the Czech WJC team.
With this many prospects across five nations, you’re all but guaranteed to watch a game with at least one in it, making for great viewing this week. I went through the opening round schedule and picked out all of the matchups that include Stars prospects for you to watch this week:
Tuesday, Dec. 26
Russia vs. Vala (Czech Republic), 11 AM CST NHL NETWORK
Karlstrom (Sweden) vs. Belarus, 1 PM CST NHL NETWORK - TAPE DELAYED BROADCAST AT 7 AM CST WEDNESDAY MORNING
Heiskanen (Finland) vs. Point (Canada), 3 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Oettinger and Tufte (United States) vs. Denmark, 7 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Wednesday, Dec. 27
Point (Canada) vs. Slovakia, 6 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Thursday, Dec. 28
Denmark vs. Heiskanen (Finland), 11 AM CST NHL NETWORK
Vala (Czech Republic) vs. Karlstrom (Sweden), 3 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Slovakia vs. Oettinger and Tufte (United States), 7 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Friday, Dec. 29
Oettinger and Tufte (United States) vs. Point (Canada), 2 PM CST (this is an outdoor game that will be played in the Buffalo Bills stadium, the first ever outdoor game in the World Juniors) NHL NETWORK
Saturday, Dec. 30
Belarus vs. Vala (Czech Republic), 11 AM CST NHL NETWORK
Switzerland vs. Karlstrom (Sweden), 1 PM CST NHL NETWORK - TAPE DELAYED BROADCAST AT 6 AM CST SUNDAY MORNING
Slovakia vs. Heiskanen (Finland), 3 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Point (Canada) vs. Denmark, 7 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Sunday, Dec. 31
Vala (Czech Republic) vs. Switzerland, 11 AM CST NHL NETWORK
Heiskanen (Finland) vs. Oettinger and Tufte (United States), 3 PM CST NHL NETWORK
Karlstrom (Sweden) vs. Russia, 7 PM CST NHL NETWORK
How To Watch:
You can watch all matchups online through the IIHF website here. Those matchups that will be televised are indicated above for your convenience!