Last year, the Islanders had three prospects compete in the World Junior Championships and this year they’ll match that number again. All of the players are defenders and were selected by the Islanders in the 2012 draft; Griffin Reinhart (1st round), Ville Pokka (2nd round) and Adam Pelech (3rd round).
Reinhart will be competing for the second year in a row for Team Canada. He’ll have to sit out the first three games of the tournament following a suspension he incurred last year. It adds a little extra importance to Reinhart’s selection, as the Canadian selection committee overlooked the problem of carrying a suspended player for a few games. Regardless, he’s still one of the best defenders on the team and (the best) in the Islanders system.
Joining Reinhart on Team Canada for the first time will be Adam Pelech, a third round pick in 2012. Pelech has 24 points and is +23 in 34 games this season for the Erie Otters, the best team in the OHL.
Another returning player will be Ville Pokka playing for Finland for the third year. Pokka missed the Islanders prospect camp this summer due to military obligations but is playing well at home in Finland’s top league. He has 13 points in 32 games and is a +20. Pokka’s stats are even better considering that he has averaged more than 21 minutes of ice time per game for first place Karpat. It’s unusual to see a 19-year old play such an important role.