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Devils Prospects

How Devils Prospects did on Day One of the World Junior Championships

Seamus Casey and Lenni Hameenaho each skated on the first day of the World Junior Championships. How did they do?

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New Jersey Devils prospects

The New Jersey Devils have a pair of prospects, representing their respective countries at this winter’s World Junior Championship tournament. On Team USA, its top defense prospect Seamus Casey in red, white, and blue. For Finland, it’s top forward prospect Lenni Hameenaho in the blue and white.

Hameenaho and Finland open the tournament against potential first-overall selection at the 2024 NHL draft,  Macklin Celebrini and Team Canada. Despite Canada sailing to a 5-2 victory over Finland, the Devils prospect was the most dangerous skater in the 60-minute contest.

Unfortunately for Finland, the best player in the matchup was Canada goaltender Mathis Rousseau. In the first period, Hameenaho started and finished a beautiful rush chance from Finland’s end of the ice. The 19-year-old forward gained Canada’s zone, splits two defenders putting the puck through his legs, but can’t beat Rousseau to give Finland a lead.

Later, Rousseau made a sprawling stop on Hameenaho as the trailing forward in a 3-on-1 rush. The Devils prospect finished the game with 19:43 of time on ice. His four shots on net tied for first among all skaters with Arttu Karki and Kalle Kangas.

Before the Devils selected Hameenaho in the second round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Finnish forward was best known for his high hockey IQ. The Devils prospect wasn’t so much regarded for his playmaking and goal-scoring touch. However, almost immediately following the 2023 draft, Hameenaho elevated his game and added the aforementioned tools to his arsenal.

Finland hits the ice again tomorrow against Team Germany.

Casey and Team USA earned a better outcome than Finland this afternoon. The first period for the red, white, and blue was a bit concerning as USA let Team Norway hang around a bit longer than they should have. However, the first period ended scoreless, and no harm was done.

In the second period, Casey fed St. Louis Blues prospect Jimmy Snuggerud who scored USA’s first tournament goal. Casey collected the primary assist.

That was Casey’s lone point in the game, putting two shots on net in 15:42 of ice time. It was encouraging to see Casey get on the board as the Devils’ defense prospect had a bit of a rough go in the preliminary round of the tournament. In the opening game of the tournament for USA, Casey was stronger, involved in much of the offense, and sound defensively. He’ll need to keep that consistency against strong opponents in their next three games.

Casey and USA play next on Thursday against Switzerland.

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