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Photo: Matt Zambonin - HHOF-IIHF Images
Posted: Monday, 26 December 2016 12:05PM

2017 World Juniors start Monday in Canada

The Buffalo Sabres will have three prospects representing the organization at the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship, which begins on Monday from Toronto, Ontario and Montreal Quebec.

Two Sabres prospects will represent the country of Sweden in the tournament. Forwards Alexander Nylander and Rasmus Asplund will take part in their second straight World Junior tournament.

Nylander, 18, led his team in points in last year's tournament with nine along with scoring four goals in seven games played. The Sabres selected Nylander this past June with the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

So far this season with the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League, Nylander has five goals and 17 points in 29 games played. Nylander is hoping to exact revenge at this year's tournament after coming up short of winning the bronze medal last year in Finland.

“We lost last year in the semis and we’re going to do whatever we can to take home the gold this year," Nylander said in a post-game interview earlier this month in Rochester. "It was a really good tournament, really fun. I’ll be excited if I get chosen for that.”

Asplund, 19, also put up a productive tournament last year with three goals and five points in seven games played. With injury to Nylander's brother William in the first game of the tournament, Asplund was able move up and play alongside Alex for a good portion of the tournament. The Sabres took Asplund with the third pick in the second round of the NHL Draft after acquiring the pick in a trade with the Florida Panthers.

Asplund has spent this season playing in the Swedish Hockey League with Farjestad BK. In 25 games played this season, Asplund has scored three goals and has registered eleven points.

Sweden will open the tournament with a matchup with Denmark on Monday at 1 p.m. The Swedes will compete in Group A of the tournament in Montreal. They will compete in the group with the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, and Switzerland.
The other Sabres prospect to represent the team at the World Junior Championship is defenseman Casey Fitzgerald. He will represent the United States at the tournament. Fitzgerald, 19, has had a great season with the Boston College Eagles with five goals and eight assists in 19 games played. Buffalo took Fitzgerald in the third round (86th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft after he went undrafted in the 2015 NHL Draft.

The United States will play in Group B in the tournament which will be played in Toronto. They will compete with Canada, Latvia, Russia and Slovakia.

Sabres defenseman Vojtech Budik was on the preliminary roster for the Czech Republic, but is not on the final roster according to the tournament's website. The fifth round defenseman from the 2016 NHL Draft has nine points in 30 games played with the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western Hockey League.
Färjestad BK
Färjestad BK

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