WJC Preview : Four Blackhawks Prospects Taking To The Big Stage

As the 2014 Under 20 World Juniors Championships get started today, here is your look at the Blackhawks prospects competing in the tournament.

We all remember the great run the United States had last January on their way to the Gold Medal in the 2013 U20 WJC. Team USA looks to repeat with a mostly different team. Gone are Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Alex Galchenyuk and John Gibson on the ice, and Phil Housely no longer leads from behind the bench. There are only three players who won gold in Uma, Russia who are back for their defense in Malmo, Sweden. Team Canada, as usual are the odds on favorite to win gold in this year's tournament., which started this morning. You can get the full schedule of game at the official WJC 2014 site. Here is the broadcast schedule for the games that the NHL Network is airing here in the States.

Thursday, 12/26
Germany vs. Canada 7:30 am ET
Czech Republic vs. USA* 11:30 am ET
Friday, 12/27
Slovakia vs. Germany 9 am ET
Saturday, 12/28
USA vs. Slovakia* 7:30 am ET
Canada vs. Czech Republic 11:30 am ET
Sunday, 12/29
Germany vs. USA* 9 am ET
Monday, 12/30
Czech Republic vs. Germany 7:30 am ET
Canada vs. Slovakia 11:30 am ET
Tuesday, 12/31
Slovakia vs. Czech Republic 7:30 am ET
USA vs. Canada* 11:30 am ET
Thursday, 1/2
Quarterfinal 6 am ET
Quarterfinal 8:30 am ET
Quarterfinal 11:00 am ET
Quarterfinal 1:30 pm ET
Saturday, 1/4
Semifinal 9 am ET
Semifinal 1 pm ET
Sunday, 1/5
Bronze Medal 9 am ET
Gold Medal 1 pm ET

The Blackhawks have four of their prospects playing in Sweden, three of which are playing for the United States.

2013 number one draft pick and Illinois native Ryan Hartman has made the trip overseas. Hartman had two goals and an assist at last year's under 20 tournament. The 5'11, 190 lbs right winger has been enjoying a successful season with the Plymouth Whalers of the Western Hockey League. He currently has 13 goals and 13 assists in 25 games for the Whalers. Another Illinois boy, Vince Hinostroza leads a very deep core of centers for the American squad. Hinostroza is enjoying a successful freshman season at Notre Dame where he has contributed three goals and 11 assists in 12 games for the Irish. Speedy winger Tyler Motte rounds out the Blackhawks' prospects playing for team USA. Motte has scored five goals and has added three assists in 14 games for the Wolverines.

The last, but certainly not least, Blackhawks' prospect playing in Sweden is Teuvo Teravainen. We got a small taste of Teravainen in the preseason and many Hawks fans can't wait for him to make his return back to the States. Teuvo is the captain for Finland in this year's WJC, and is primed for a huge break out tournament. Teravainen put up six goals and five assists in six games at last year's under 20 tournament. Teravainen has not been setting the world on fire for Jokerit of the Finnish Liiga, having just three goals and 14 assists in 29 games.

The Blackhawks have no prospects on Team Canada but one of their fomer players, Brent Sutter, is their head coach.  Look for him to lead a very talented bunch of youngsters and not smile once along the way.