Four Red Wings picks highlight Plymouth summer showcase
First-round draft choice Joe Veleno is one of four Detroit Red Wings' draft picks who will compete in the World Junior Summer Showcase, which got underway Friday and continues through next weekend at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
The nine-day tournament features 11 international games with many of the best under-20 players representing four nations: the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.
Veleno, a 6-1, 194-pound center who had 42 goals and 104 points for the Drummondville Voltigeurs last year, will play for Canada and will open the tourney against Team USA on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Two of the other Detroit picks, goalie Jesper Eliasson and forward Jonatan Berggren, are with Team Sweden and will face the USA Blue team on Saturday at 4 p.m., and the USA White team on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Eliasson was a third-round selection who had a 2.43 goals-against average and .919 save percentage with the Vaxjo Lakers, and forward Jonatan Berggren was a second-round pick who missed most of the year with Skelleftea AIK because of a back injury.
Seventh-round pick Otto Kivenmaki will play for Finland, which plays against the USA White team on Saturday at 1 p.m., and the USA Blue team on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Kivenmaki is a 5-8, 140-pound center who had a combined 13 goals and 51 points for Jr. A Liiga and Liiga in Finland last year.
The tournament also serves as an audition for the world junior championships in Ostrava and Trinec in the Czech Republic on Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020.
The United States has medaled in four straight world tourneys, winning gold in 2017, silver in 2019 and bronze in 2016 and 2018.
In Plymouth, the 44-player U.S. roster is divided into two teams for the first portion of the camp and will be trimmed to one roster on July 30. In Friday's two-period scrimmage, Trevor Zegras (Anaheim) scored the shootout winner for Team Blue.
Forty-one of the 44 players have been drafted in the NHL, including 2019 first-round picks Alex Turcotte (L.A. Kings), Matthew Boldy (Minnesota), Cam York (Philadelphia), Spencer Knight (Florida), Cole Caufield (Montreal), Bobby Brink (Philadelphia), John Beecher (Boston) and Ryan Johnson (Buffalo).
Michigan State goalie Drew DeRidder is one of three 2020 draft-eligible players on the U.S. roster. The 5-10, 170-pound native of Fenton, Mich., posted a 3.23 GAA and a .906 save percentage with the Spartans last year.
The 2020 consensus top three players, Canada's Alexis Lafreniere and Sweden's Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond, will also be in Plymouth for the summer showcase and could be available if the Red Wings fall from their sixth-worst drafting position in the previous two NHL drafts.
Lafreniere, a 6-1, 192-pound center who is projected to be the No. 1 pick, had 37 goals and 105 points with the Rimouski Oceanic last year and was the player of the year in the Canadian Hockey League.
Holtz is a 6-0, 183-pound winger who scored 30 goals in 38 games with Djurgardens in Sweden's junior league, the most ever by a player 17 or younger in the league.
Raymond is a 5-11, 170-pound winger who had 48 points in 37 games with Frolunda and scored a hat trick in Sweden's gold-medal victory at the worlds last year.
Tickets are as low as $5 per game and as high as $20 for the last day on Aug. 3. All seating is general admission and parking is free except for Aug. 3, where there's reserved seating and a $5 charge for parking. For more information, call 734-453-8400 or go online at usahockeyarena.com.
World Junior Summer Showcase
Saturday: USA White vs. Finland (1 p.m.)
Saturday: USA Blue vs. Sweden (4 p.m.)
Sunday: USA Blue vs. Finland (1 p.m.)
Sunday USA White vs. Sweden (4 p.m.)
July 30: Canada vs. USA (4 p.m.)
x-July 31: Canada vs. Finland (1 p.m.)
x-July 31: USA vs. Sweden (4 p.m.)
x-Aug. 2: Canada vs. Sweden (1 p.m.)
x-Aug. 2: USA vs. Finland (4 p.m.)
x-Aug. 3: Sweden vs. Finland (1 p.m.)
x-Aug. 3: Canada vs. USA (4 p.m.)
x-Game on NHL Network