The World Junior Summer Showcase recently wrapped up in Kamloops where Canada finished 3-0 (not including the split-squad game against the US) and beat every other team who attended. The four team round-robin tournament included Canada, United States, Sweden, and Finland and ran from July 30 to August 4.
The idea of the showcase is not to win a trophy or prove dominance over the countries, but to give an idea of who might be on the team come Boxing Day for the official World Junior Championship. This showcase is also a great opportunity for General Managers to see some of their recently drafted players for the first time and scout some players they might want to take in next year’s draft.
For the Winnipeg Jets, the biggest news heading into the showcase was the absence of highly touted prospect Kristian Vesalainen who was on the initial roster but left off the final edition. While this news was originally concerning, Vesalainen was not a part of the final roster for his own benefit. This was to give him more time at home before attending Jets training camp rather than long flights back and forth.
Finland coach Jussi Ahokas says players were left at home so they wouldn't have to make an extra long flight over to North America, knowing they all would be back soon for NHL training camps
— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) July 28, 2018
Even if Jets fans didn’t get to see Vesalainen during the showcase, they were still able to see two other prospects, Dylan Samberg and David Gustafsson.
Dylan Samberg was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft, 43rd overall. Samberg is a big, strong, left shot defensmen who can play in all areas of the rink. After getting drafted out of the USHS he went to the University of Minnesota-Duluth last season where he recorded 1 goal, 12 assists, and 43 PIM in 42 games.
Samberg played in three games during the summer showcase and failed to register a point, although he did manage to get a slashing penalty in the first game of the tournament. He didn’t find the statsheet anywhere else but was noted for his great play in his own end against Finland.
P1 | Joey Keane and Dylan Samberg both looking great in their own zone. They were in the right place at the right time and were physical, pressuring FIN players.
— ʀᴀᴄʜᴇʟ ʜᴜsᴛøɴ (@mirachelonice) August 3, 2018
After playing in the official World Junior Championship in 2018 and posting solid numbers, Samberg should be a lock to make the team for the upcoming tournament as well.
While Dylan Samberg was drafted in 2017, David Gustafsson has only been a part of the Jets organization for the past month and a half. Gustafsson was the first pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2018 draft where he was selected 60th overall.
Gustafsson has had plenty of experience playing with the Swedish national team as he was represented the country on the U16, U17, and U18 teams. This experience was capped off at the U18 World Championships where Gustafsson finished 2nd on his team in scoring and tied for 10th overall in the tournament with 7 points in 7 games.
At the Summer Showcase, Gustafsson continued to put up solid numbers. He had three assists and four PIM across five games including a great move to make his defender look silly.
David Gustafsson (WPG) breaks the ankles of some poor Finn, and Adam Ginning (PHI) scores. pic.twitter.com/q2mDgRcz4U
— Ty Smith’s Burner Account (@DraftLook) August 5, 2018
When Gustafsson wasn’t breaking ankles, he was busy winning player of the game awards, which is not quite as cool as making a defensemen look silly, but probably more important anyways.
Alex Formenton (OTT) and David Gustafsson (WPG) named players of the game for their respective teams. Formenton certainly one of the most active and threatening Canadian forwards throughout the game. Gustafsson played a strong two-way game tonight.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) August 4, 2018
Gustafsson has continued to impress after getting drafted not so long ago. He has routinely performed at the national level and will look to continue that trend in the World Junior Championships over the Christmas holidays.