The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship is set to begin this Sunday, December 26th and end on January 5th. Every year there are standouts that have already been drafted high or guys who are looking to boost their draft stock. This year, there are a few Blackhawks prospects that are worth checking out.
With the rosters for every team not public at the moment, we only have word on the United States and Canada so far. The Blackhawks don't have any prospects on Team Canada, but have three on Team USA, one at each level. Let's start on the front end and work our way back.
Landon Slaggert, a 2020 3rd round pick of the Blackhawks, is the lone forward the Blackhawks have on Team USA. The product of the local AAA powerhouse, Chicago Mission, Slaggert is no stranger to the IIHF World Juniors having played in the tournament last year. In seven games in the tournament a year ago, Slaggert put up zero points and 12 penalty minutes, playing a bottom six role for the team. With his prior experience in the tournament, I fully expect him to be a leader and bigger part of this team this year.
On defense, Wyatt Kaiser, another 2020 3rd round pick of the Blackhawks, is making his first World Juniors appearance and joins a loaded defensive unit that includes Luke Hughes, Jake Sanderson, and Brock Faber. Kaiser being one of the older defensemen on this team, should get his fair share of minutes and opportunities. He is a very important piece for the Blackhawks due to how thin they are in the back end moving forward besides Seth Jones.
Finally, my favorite player participating in the tournament, Drew Commesso. Like Slaggert, the 19 year old goaltender is no stranger to these tournaments, serving as a backup for highly touted goalie Spencer Knight last year. Another 2020 draftee, Commesso is one of the most intriguing prospects the Blackhawks have because he is one of very few goalies they have. He is by far the oldest goalie on the United States roster, so he should start most of the games. If he performs at a high level, there will be a lot of buzz from Blackhawks fans about the potential of him defending the Blackhawks crease for years to come.
Who are you excited to see play in this years World Juniors tournament, whether they are a Blackhawks prospect or not?