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WJC Preview: Red Deer by way of New York

A look at the eight Rangers players that are expected to play in the upcoming World Junior Championships hosted in Canada starting on Boxing Day.

Copying the format of an excellent article from the Colorado Avalanche, here is a look at the New York Rangers that are expected to feature in the upcoming World Junior Championships hosted in GM Sean McAndrews' home town of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Team Sweden

Alexander Holtz - The elite right winger has the best shot in junior hockey and is expected to lead the offensive charge for the Swedes. Holtz reportedly has added a gear to his skating which will allow him to dominate kids in his own age group as he is scoring at will against men in the SHL this year.

Philip Broberg - The big, smooth skating rearguard will lead the Swedes on the back end. Expect Broberg to munch big minutes and play in all situations as his simple, but effective, game will stabilize a rather young blueline.

Tobias Bjornfot - While Broberg is an all-situation defender, Bjornfot excels at one aspect of the game – offense. While he is smart and effective defensively, his elusiveness as a puck carrier and creative passing game are what really catch the eye.

Emil Andrae – Andrae is already looking like s steal for the Rangers in the most recent draft as the young blueliner has made the WJC team based on his excellent skating. While he is not expected to receive big ice time, he is one of the youngest players on the team and will soak up the experience.

Team Canada

Dawson Mercer – Mercer is expected to lead the charge for Canada offensively. His ability to play all three forward positions and his extremely high hockey IQ means that he can be used in a number of ways for Team Canada and could also feature in the 200-foot aspects of the game.

Jacob Pelletier – Pelletier was set to play for Team Canada last year before an injury derailed his season. He is back, and expected to play a high-energy game that showcases well in the junior game. Look for him to hit, score, agitate, and do just about everything he can to help Canada win.

Team Russia

Vasiliy Ponomorov – Ponomorov is an extremely skilled forward plying his trade in North America. Team Russia generally favors KHL players so the fact that he made the team without eye popping numbers speaks to the impact the Russians think he can make after recently being drafted to the NHL.

Team USA

Dustin Wolf – While Spencer Knight gets the lead as the #1, expect Wolf to game some game time as the late round pick has done nothing but impress. Despite his small stature, he has overcome all odds and was named the CHL goaltender of the year. His last two seasons have seen a GAA below 2.00 and a save percentage of .935 or better, so he could certainly take over the #1 spot for the Americans if Knight fails.

With a total of 8 players representing their countries at the WJC, the Rangers scouting staff has a lot to be excited about. While GM Sean McAndrews was planning to attend the games in person, he will have to watch from his couch like the rest of us.

Still, one of the most exciting tournaments in hockey will have extra intrigue as the Rangers view a big part of their future starting Boxing Day!

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