At the 2012 World Junior Championship, much of the focus was on high profile forwards Mikael Granlund and Teemu Pulkkinen – veterans of previous tournaments who were making one last attempt to win a gold medal. While Finland came up short of that goal, losing to eventual champion Sweden in a shootout in the semifinals, the team's fourth place finish would have to be considered a success.
It would be easy to summarize the experience of Team Finland at the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship by saying the team ended the tournament the way it started – losing to Canada. To do so would be a huge injustice to the players and coaches of the team, and also not begin to tell half of the story of the Finns’ surprising and exciting run to the semifinals.
The 2011 Finland squad for the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship offers an intriguing blend of experience and youth – with arguably the tournament’s most high profile player, Mikael Granlund, skating in his third World Junior championship.
On the flip side, a trio of youngsters, one 16-year-old forward and two 17-year-old defensemen, are make their debut playing for Finland at this year’s WJC tournament and could be early choices at the 2012 and 2013 NHL Drafts respectively.
Throw in a first-year coach making his debut at the World Junior Championship and an untested, but talented, trio of goaltenders, and the fortunes of Finland are a mystery at this point.
European Preliminary Rankings