New Jersey Devils Prospects to Watch in 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship

Each year, the World Junior Championship showcases promising young hockey players. This year, the New Jersey Devils have two prospects in the tournament.

New Jersey Devils 2023 Development Camp
New Jersey Devils 2023 Development Camp / Rich Graessle/GettyImages
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Lenni Hämeenaho

Finland doesn’t have the strongest roster in this year’s World Juniors, but one of their standouts is Devils prospect Lenni Hämeenaho. The 19-year-old was selected by the Devils in the second round of the 2023 NHL Draft. The winger currently plays for Porin Assat of SM-liiga, the top Finnish professional league. This will mark his second appearance in a World Juniors.

Although he may not be the most dynamic player, Hämeenaho is known as a smart and reliable player with an abundance of hockey sense. He's in his second season in Liiga. In 26 games this season, Hämeenaho has 17 points. He is second in points and leads his team in goals.

Hämeenaho wins puck battles and creates chances, but speed is not his strength. In the defensive zone, he has great instincts. Hämeenaho's defensive positioning is on point. He takes away space from opponents and asserts physicality. 

Will we see Hämeenaho in the NHL soon? Not quite yet, as he’s still developing in Liiga. The Devils have a lot of talented forwards. World Juniors is a chance for Hämeenaho to prove himself on the world’s stage and show how his development is coming along. He might be almost ready for the AHL.

Last year, Finland was eliminated in the quarter-finals of World Juniors. This year, they face off against Canada on December 26 in the preliminary round of the tournament. It will be a tough match-up for them. Expect Hämeenaho to make an impression.

Seamus Casey and Lenni Hämeenaho are prospects to watch in World Juniors. The 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off on December 26 and concludes on January 5.

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