Four 2012 Draftees Highlight Preds World Junior Invitees
Max Gortz – Team Sweden
This will be the seventh time Gortz has donned the Tre Kronor sweater in international competition. He took the ice this summer for Sweden’s World Junior Evaluation Camp and the Four Nations Tournament, posting eight points (2g-6a) in nine combined games. Sweden went undefeated in the Four Nations, highlighted by Gortz, who tied for the team lead, and second in the tournament, in points (1g-2a-3pts). The Preds eighth pick in last year’s draft is now playing in his second full season in the Swedish Elite League, where he has tallied eight points (5g-3a) in 29 games for Farjestad.
Gortz is another big, strong forward who reads the ice well and is oriented away from the puck. He uses his size to control pucks down low and can take pucks from the corner into the scoring areas in front of the net. Gortz will once again supply Sweden with a veteran, big-bodied forward who can also find the back of the net.
Miika Salomaki – Team Finland
Salomaki, Nashville’s second selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is looking to represent Finland in international play for the fourth straight year. Through 24 games over the past three years representing Finland, Salomaki has posted 16 points (9g-7a) for the Suomi. In Finnish Elite League action this season, the 19-year-old forward has tallied 12 points (4g-8a) and is tied for second on the team with a +9 rating through 27 games for Karpat Oulu.
Salomaki is a powerful player that is both physically and mentally tough. He possesses deceiving skill and speed given his bigger frame. Salomaki has an extremely professional to approach his game despite being just 19 years old.
Colton Sissons – Team Canada
This is Sissons’ first invitation to Canada’s World Junior Camp as he looks to become the 12th Kelowna Rockets player to be named to Team Canada's World Junior squad. Nashville’s second choice in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is currently riding a seven-game point streak (1g-7a-8pts) and has maintained his point-per-game pace (27gp, 10g-17a-27pts) for the Rockets of the Western Hockey League. Additionally, the Rockets’ captain has posted a +24 rating on the season to move into a tie for fifth in the Western Hockey League in plus/minus.
Sissons provides Team Canada with proven leadership and a responsible two-way game. While he possesses the talent to be included on Team Canada’s roster, the current NHL lockout may prevent that from happening with some NHL players available for the World Junior Championships.
Mikko Vainonen- Team Finland
Vainonen makes his second appearance for the Suomi on the international stage after captaining Finland’s 2012 U-18 World Junior Championship squad. The 6-2, 222-pound defenseman posted four points (4a) in seven games for his home country during last year’s tournament. Nashville’s sixth selection in last year’s draft is in the midst of his first season in North America with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League, where he has notched nine points (1g-8a) in 28 games.
Vainonen is a solid, mobile defender with excellent vision, which has helped to cement his position along Finland’s blue line during international play. He has the build of an effective defensive defenseman who is extremely smart with his positioning and passing.
Jimmy Vesey – Team USA
Though this is Vesey’s first invite to the National Junior Team Selection Camp, he participated in the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp this past August and made the final camp roster. He finished this summer’s event with two points (1g-1a) in three games for Team USA. One of Nashville’s two third-round picks in 2012, Vesey leads all Harvard players with eight points (5g-3a) in seven games this season. He currently ranks seventh in the nation and fourth in ECAC in goals per game (0.71). Also, Vesey ranks third in the nation and first in the ECAC Hockey in points per game among rookies (1.14). The North Reading, Mass., native was named the ECAC’s Rookie of the Month for November.
Vesey can supply Team USA with a big-body winger who possesses the skill and smarts to make him a dangerous player in the offensive zone as evidenced by his offensive output at both Harvard and last season in the EJHL. Vesey does not shy away from physical play and has become responsible in the defensive end as well.
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