Red Wings’ prospects are littered throughout World Junior lineup projection

Octopus Thrower

It’s early and will likely change, but plenty of Detroit Red Wings prospects are littered throughout a recent 2023-24 World Junior tournament projection.

On the heels of the 2023 World Junior Summer Showcase that just finished up in Plymouth, Michigan, Scott Wheeler, Corey Pronman, and Max Bultman of The Athletic ($) recently put together 2024 World Juniors roster projections for four prominent clubs; Team Canada, USA, Sweden, and Finland. The Detroit Red Wings are expected to be well represented, headlined by their pair of most recent first-round draft choices.

Corey Pronman orchestrated Team Canada’s lineup; that’s where you will find Steve Yzerman’s top pick from this summer. Nate Danielson has been penciled in as Team Canada’s second-line center behind Conor Geekie of the Arizona Coyotes. Pronman has Danielson sandwiched between Nashville’s Matthew Wood and Macklin Celebrini. Celebrini, a Vancouver native, is expected to be the No. 1 overall draft selection in 2024.

A host of Detroit Red Wings prospects are expected to take part in the 2023-24 World Junior tournament.

Danielson was selected No. 9 overall last month. The captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings is coming off an excellent season where he scored 33 goals and totaled 78 points over 68 games. He projects as a reliable second-line two-way center that will be efficient in all three zones at the professional level with a limited offensive ceiling. The 6-foot-2 prospect has plenty of aspects Yzerman looks for in a prospect.

Max Bultman put together Team USA’s roster and projected Detroit Red Wings goaltending prospect Trey Augustine as the starting netminder. Augustine, 18, is a South Lyon native who the Detroit Red Wings selected with the No. 41 pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Level Draft. The young netminder immediately slides in as Detroit’s second-best goaltending prospect behind Sebastian Cossa, who the organization drafted in the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft. Augustine spent the past two years with the U.S. National Development Team. This past season he posted a 2.14 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 32 games. Augustine has committed to the Michigan State Spartans this upcoming season.

Scott Wheeler put together Team Sweden’s roster projection, and that is where we find possibly Detroit’s most intriguing draft selection from this past draft. Axel Sandin Pellikka was selected with the No. 17 overall pick and drew comparisons to current NHLer Kris Letang for his offensive abilities.

Sandin Pellikka is a tremendous transporter of the puck, and the right-handed defender is expected to slot in nicely behind Moritz Seider in Detroit’s lineup in a couple of years. He’s coming off a stellar season with Skelleftea AIK Jr. of the Swedish Junior League, scoring 16 goals and totaling 36 points in 31 games. He also maintained a plus-15 rating and amassed 64 penalty minutes. Later in the year, he was bumped up to the professional club, where he appeared in 22 games scoring two goals and five points; he finished with a plus-2 rating and no penalty minutes. Wheeler has Sandin Pellikka slotted in on the right side of Sweden’s second unit, paired with Elias Salomonsson, a prospect of the Winnipeg Jets.

Wheeler also has mentioned Detroit Red Wings prospect Anton Johansson as an extra on Team Sweden. Johansson is coming off a very impressive showing at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

Johansson, a fourth-round selection of the Red Wings from the 2022 draft, appeared in 21 games this past season for Leksands IF of the Swedish Hockey League, where he recorded just one goal while maintaining a minus -3 rating. Johansson also played 32 games last season for the Leksands IF Jr. team recording six goals and 13 points.

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The 2024 World Junior Championship takes place between Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023 – Friday, Jan 5, 2024, in Budapest, Hungary.

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