Flyers fans should receive a nice gift for the holidays.
We're going to unwrap it for you: it's a small glimpse into the future.
And some hockey to watch.
The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship commences on Christmas Day in Edmonton, Alberta, and finishes Jan. 5. Exhibition play begins Dec. 20 and 10 countries are represented in the annual under-20 tournament.
Which Flyers prospects will be represented?
Cam York and Bobby Brink look like slam-dunk selections for the U.S. as they're both on the preliminary roster and played for the Americans in the 2020 tourney, when rosters were at a maximum of 23 players. For the 2021 tournament, rosters have been expanded to 25 players.
York, whose sophomore season is underway at Michigan, was the Flyers' 2019 first-round draft pick and is arguably a top-three prospect in the club's system. The put-you-on-your-heels blueliner holds a U.S. national team development program record for points in a season by a defenseman with 65 when he recorded 14 goals and 51 assists during his draft year.
Brink, the Flyers' 2019 second-round draft pick, is a sophomore at Denver, which opens its 2020-21 season on Wednesday night against Flyers prospect Noah Cates and Minnesota Duluth. Brink is a tinier winger but sees the ice like a tall quarterback. He torched the USHL in his draft year and Denver head coach David Carle called Brink's hockey sense "elite."
The NHL Network will televise every U.S. game, so Flyers fans will want to tune in. The Americans open their schedule on Christmas against Russia.
Emil Andrae, the Flyers' 2020 second-round draft pick, is a candidate for Team Sweden. In early November, The Athletic's Scott Wheeler projected Andrae to make the Swedes' roster. The 5-foot-8, 181-pound blueliner brings a blend of skill and competitiveness. During his 2019-20 draft year, Andrae was the No. 1-scoring defenseman in Sweden's top junior league with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) over 40 games.
"He has a good stick and he has high-end hockey sense," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in October. "There’s not much you can do about the height, but there have been other players with his type of build that have succeeded. Typically those players have had high-end hockey sense and high-end compete and a lot of skill. And he fits the bill."
Defenseman Mason Millman and winger Tyson Foerster are in Team Canada's selection camp. The Athletic's Corey Pronman projects that both of the Flyers' prospects are long shots to make the Canadians' roster.
Millman, the Flyers' 2019 fourth-round draft pick, is one of the bigger sleepers in the club's prospect pool. Like Millman, Foerster plays in the OHL. He was the Flyers' 2020 first-round draft pick and is regarded for his advanced shot.
Here is the full schedule for the tournament.
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