Photo: If Finland is to generate offense at the 2014 World Junior Championship, then Swift Current Broncos’ defenseman and 2014 prospect Julius Honka will likely be a major contributor to that effort (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The 2014 U20 World Junior Championship will be a very different experience for Finland on several fronts.
In past tournaments, the strength of Finland's team has been the cohesion gained by playing several years together and then competing as a group in Finland's second league, Mestis, during the Fall.
Photo: Ilves Tampere goaltender Ville Kolppanen is currently among the top netminders in Liiga, Finland’s top league (courtesy of Ilves Tampere)
After finishing last in the SM-Liiga in three of the past four seasons, Ilves got off to a fast start this season and is challenging for a spot in the re-christened Liiga's 10-team playoffs. While the Tampere-based club has cooled off a bit recently, a big part of the team's turnaround can be attributed to the play of 21-year-old goalie, Ville Kolppanen.
Photo: Anaheim Ducks prospect Miro Aaltonen suffered a borken ankle at the 2013 WJC, but managed to return for playoff action with Espoo’s U20 squad where he picked up 13 points in eight games (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
In the first part of this preview, HF looked at seven of the 14 teams that are competing in Finland's SM-liiga for the 2013-14 season. In this second part, we look at the remaining seven teams taking part in Finland's top hockey league with an emphasis on the NHL prospects for each club (number in parentheses indicates number of players whose rights are held by an NHL team).
Photo: Nashville Predators goaltending prospect Juuse Saros, shown here competing at the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY, will be part of young and talented group of goaltenders playing for HPK Hameenlinna in the SM-liiga in 2013-14 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The 2012-13 season in Finland's SM-Liiga was interesting, to say the least.
With an influx of NHL players early in the season due to the NHL lockout, the level of play was higher than in recent years. When those players returned to their NHL clubs, the remainder of the season saw several teams which had not had much success recently in the thick of things.
Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Scott Harrington (C) appeard in two consecutive Memorial Cup tournaments as a member of the OHL’s London Knights (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
For a pair of Pittsburgh Penguins’ products, their participation in the Toronto Maple Leafs’-sponsored rookie tournament took place right in their own backyard. And while Olli Maatta looks to have more games wearing the London Knights’ green and gold, for Scott Harrington, it’s a bittersweet ending to his time in the Forest City.