The time has come for some of the biggest NHL prospects to represent their country and showcase their talents.
It is that time of year for the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championships.
They started on December 26, 2023, and will go through January 5, 2024. Some of those prospects will come from the Detroit Red Wings organization.
The defenseman from Kalrstad, Sweden, Albert Johansson has impressed Red Wings management in his second year in North America.
His World Juniors Championships experience includes two stints with Sweden, recording four assists in 12 games.
A smooth-skating blueliner, Johansson has developed into a solid NHL prospect with his play. The 60th overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2019 NHL Draft, he has one goal and eight assists for nine points in 20 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Axel Sandin Pellikka
The offensive blueliner from Gallivare, Sweden will join his fellow Red Wings defensive prospect on the blueline for team Sweden. Drafted 17th overall by the Red Wings in the 2023 NHL Draft, Axel Sandin Pellikka is the best offensive defenseman in the Detroit pipeline.
He is a smooth skater who is gifted offensively and can quarterback a power play. He does not give joining the rush a second thought as he could be considered a fourth forward with his offensive play.
Playing for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), he has no goals and four assists for 13 points in 25 games. His progression should land him in Detroit full-time sooner rather than later. He had one assist in the 6-0 win against Latvia in game one of the World Juniors tournament.
Representing the United States and the Detroit Red Wings is goaltender Trey Augustine. The 6-foot-1 and 179-pound from South Lyon, Michigan has put himself at the head of the goaltedning prospect pipeline with his play recently.
The 41st overall pick by Detroit in 2023, he plays for the Michigan State Spartans of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This season, he is 11-3-2 with a 2.97 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage.
He is considered the top goaltending prospect in Detroit's system. He stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 4-1 game one win against Norway.
Forward Nate Danielson will be representing Canada in this tournament. The 6-foot-2 and 187-pound center will wear the Canadian jersey just months after being drafted ninth overall by Detroit in the 2023 NHL Draft.
While he did look great in training cam and some exhibition games, he was sent down to the Western Hockey League's (WHL) Brandon Wheat Kings. In 24 games, he has 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points.
Danielson may be turning pro at the end of this season, making his NHL debut right around the corner. He made quite the impression in a 5-2 win against Finland, scoring one goal and one assist for two points.
Forward Kevin Bicker will be playing for Germany in this year's tournament. Although drafted by the Red Wings 147th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft, he remains unsigned.
The 6-foot-1 and 176-pound Bicker plays the game in a fast manner but has a deceptive shot, making it uneasy for the opposing goaltender.
This season, he is playing for the Lowen Frankfurt of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), recording one goal and 12 penalty minutes in 24 games. He has good strength on the puck and has a great teamwork ethic.
The Detroit Red Wings have been well represented in these tournaments with players from all countries.
Lucas Raymond (Sweden), Joe Veleno (Canada), Moritz Seider (Germany), Nicklas Lidstrom (Sweden), and Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden) have been successful in these contests as it betters them for the rest of their NHL careers.
During the last World Junior Championships in 2022, Team Canada was successful, beating Czechia 6-1.