Panthers send four to the World Junior Hockey Championship
Cats will be well-represented (again) this year at 2016 IIHF WJC in Helsinki
The Florida Panthers continue to display a plethora of high-end depth in its prospect pool. This year, the Cats will have four recently-drafted prospects among the participants at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship taking place from December 26 to January 5 in Helsinki, Finland. Let's take a look at the quartet who have earned the right to represent their country in the biggest U20 tournament in the world.
This will be the 18-year-old Crouse's second go around as a member of Team Canada. "The Sheriff" was a member of last year's gold medal-winning team in Toronto/Montreal. In that tournament, Crouse scored one goal and added two assists in seven games. Look for the rugged forward to have a larger role on this year's squad. So far this season, Florida's first round pick this past summer (11th overall) has totaled 24 points (9G/15A) in 22 games with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs.
Montembeault will be making his first appearance for Canada at the World Junior Championship. The 19-year-old is having a fine season with the QMJHL's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. In 22 games, Montembeault has a 7-10-4 record, 2.79 GAA, .886 save percentage and one shutout. The native of Quebec City was selected in the third round (77th overall) by the Panthers in 2015. With Mackenzie Blackwood slated to miss the first two games due to suspension, Montembeault will be the backup for Mason McDonald. Hopefully, the Cats prospect will see some game action.
Canada, playing in Group A, will open the tournament on Saturday with a game against the United States at 1 PM EST.
The 19-year-old Lammikko will also be making his debut at the WJC. In exhibition action against Team USA, the Panthers' third-rounder (65th overall) in 2014 was skating at left wing on Finland's top line with Kasperi Kapanen and Roope Hintz. If he stays in that role, look for him to possibly have a breakout performance. A teammate of Crouse on the Kingston Frontenacs, Lammikko has put up 28 points (10G/18A) in 30 OHL games this season. For more on the Noormarkku native, make sure to take a look at JC's detailed prospect report.
Finland will open Group B action against Belarus on Saturday at 1 PM EST in Hartwell Arena.
Like Crouse, the 18-year-old Malgin will be making his second straight appearance at the WJC. Malgin scored 7 points (1G/6A) in 6 games last year for Switzerland to tie for the team lead in scoring. A fourth round pick (102nd overall) of the Panthers in 2015, the pint-sized forward is currently playing for the ZSC Lions of Swiss National League A, where has he posted 2 goals and 9 points in 26 games this season.
Switzerland will open Group A action against Sweden on Saturday.