Blackhawks forward prospects Niklas Nordgren and Antti Saarela were named to Finland’s preliminary roster for the 2020 World Junior Championships on Monday.
It’s the second straight year Nordgren has made the preliminary roster, but last year he did not make the final team. The 2018 third-round pick made his Liiga season debut this past weekend with HIFK and played in two games after recording four assists in as many games in Finland’s under-20 league. He’s missed the past few months due to injury.
Saarela, a 2019 fourth-round pick, has one goal and three assists in 18 games with Ilves. He recorded two goals and 10 points in 24 Liiga games last season with Lukko.
While Nordgren was out with an injury, Saarela did play for Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase in July in Plymouth, Michigan. He primarily played as the team’s second-line center.
Finland is the reigning world juniors champions after defeating the United States 3-2 in the gold-medal game in Vancouver. The upcoming world juniors will be from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.