Two Islanders prospects to watch at the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

There's no Aatu Räty or William Dufour this time around, but the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships kicked off on Monday, and the New York Islanders have two prospects to follow during the tournament U-20 Tournament. Calle Odelius, the team's first pick in the 2022 draft (2nd round, 65th overall), skates for Sweden, and Aleski Malinen from the 2021 draft class (6th round, 189th overall) will represent Finland.

Earlier this month, our Michael Stahurski wrote about Odelius making Team Sweden and how despite being just 18 years old, he is the most experienced defender on the team. He'll have another year of U-20 World Juniors eligibility left, so it's possible we see him in this tournament next year.

Odelius signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Islanders back in July following the draft. The contract carries a $950K AAV and an $870K cap hit with multiple signing and performance bonuses.

Playing for Djurgardens IF in Sweden's second-highest professional league, Odelius has registered five assists in 26 games this season. He'll be paired during the tournament with Axel Sandin Pellikka, a projected first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The smooth skating defensive scored a goal in Sweden's route against Austria in the first game of the tournament earlier this afternoon.

Malinen was the Islanders first defenseman taken in 2021 draft and is representing his home country for the first time in his final year of tournament eligibility. The 19-year-old is currently playing in Finland's top professional league, and not surprisingly, his offensive game has been slow to take shape. He started the season playing for JyP HT Jyvaskyla and recorded just two assists in 23 games. When he played last in the U-20 league for SM-sarja, he had three goals and 17 assists in 14 games. He's expected to be paired with LA Kings' prospect Otto Salin throughout the tournament.