4 NY Islanders prospects projected to compete at the World Junior Championship

Canada v Sweden: Group A - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship
Canada v Sweden: Group A - 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

After three games of competition at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan, The Athletic has released its projected lineups for the four favorites at the 2024 World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden: Canada, USA, Sweden, and Finland. Included are four NY Islanders prospects - a massive leap from last year as the organization had just one representative.

The odds-on favorite going into the tournament, Canada, who are looking for the three-peat, didn't have any Islanders included in their projected roster. One player to keep an eye on is defenseman Isaiah George. If George can get off to a hot start this season, he has a chance to sneak into an incredibly talented blue line.

Representing Team USA on a team selected by Max Bultman, two 2023 draft picks, Danny Nelson and Zachary Schulz, were selected to wear the stars and stripes. Both were part of the 2023 U-18 World Championship winning team, with Schulz as the captain.

A natural center, Bultman has Nelson slotted in as the fourth line left wing alongside Charlie Stramel (Minnesota Wild) and Gavin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks). Schulz is listed as a middle-pairing defenseman next to future Metropolitan Division rival Seamus Casey (New Jersey Devils).

Though he's not a member of the Islanders, Bultman lists Long Island native James Hagens as a member of Team USA despite not being draft eligible until 2025! Just comes to show how far youth hockey has come on Long Island.

Heading over to the host country in Sweden on a roster selected by Scott Wheeler, a holdover from last year and Islanders second-round pick in 2022, Calle Odelius will be turned to as one of the leaders of the blue line. Odelius is likely a sure-fired bet to make the team as one of the elder statesmen and is projected to line up with San Jose Sharks draft pick Matias Havelid.

Also selected by Wheeler, the Swede's biggest rival, Finland, has Islanders 2023 fourth-round pick Jesse Nurmi slotted as the Finns second line left wing next to Konsta Helenius (2024) and Lenni Hameenaho (New Jersey Devils). Nurmi, who would be one of the roster's youngest players, must not struggle coming out of the gate this season if he hopes to make the roster.

With action beginning on Dec. 26, the first half of the season will be crucial for all players as management makes its final decisions. The Islanders hope their prospect pool wikll be well represented for the first time in years on junior hockey's biggest stage.