Every December, the best U-20 prospects in the world compete for their national teams in the IIHF World Junior Championships. It's one of the most enjoyable tournaments of the year (who doesn't love rooting for their country?) especially if you enjoy looking towards the future, which Buffalo sports have been teaching us to do for years.
This year, the Buffalo Sabres could be very well represented in the tournament, as they currently have eight prospects invited to camps all over the world. Those prospects are:
USA - JT Compher, Hudson Fasching
Canada - Sam Reinhart, Nick Baptitste
Russia - Nikita Zadorov
Sweden - Victor Olofsson, Johan Johannson
Czech Republic - Vaclav Karabacek (not confirmed, but Sabres Prospects says so, so it's true.)
We were disappointed to see that Justin Bailey was left off of the Team USA invite list, as Bailey's been having himself a heck of a season wearing the "A" for Kitchener, with 15 goals and 15 assists in 30 games, but other than that, the Sabres prospect pool is very well represented in the camp invites.
Not all of these players are guaranteed to make the final roster, and the biggest question mark could be Nikita Zadorov, who they Sabres might not be able to release, as he's quickly become one of the more reliable defensemen on a paper-thin Sabres roster. Personally I'd love to see the Sabres release Zadorov for a month so he can dominate this tournament like Rasmus Ristolainen did last year. Sam Reinhart is also expected to have a big tournament, and will likely wear the "C" for Team Canada.
World Junior team practices will start later this month, and the tournament itself will run from Dec. 26-Jan 5.