Finland all-time WJC starting lineup includes Teravainen, Laine

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The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled for Dec. 25-Jan. 5, 2021 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. To celebrate the tournament, which was first contested in 1974, NHL.com has compiled an all-time starting lineup for some of the participating countries based solely on the players’ performances at the World Juniors. Today, we look at the ideal three forwards, two defensemen and goalie to start a game for Finland.

 

Forwards

Esa Tikkanen

Tournaments: 1983, 1984, 1985

Statistics: 21 games, 17-19-36

Tikkanen ranks in the top 10 all-time in WJC goals (ninth), assists (tied for sixth) and points (fourth). He was second for Finland with 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in seven games to help it finish second in 1984, and in 1985 Tikkanen was second in the tournament with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) and made the WJC all-star team. The left wing played 14 NHL seasons with seven teams.

 

Teuvo Teravainen

Tournaments: 2013, 2014

Statistics: 13 games, 7-19-26

Teravainen was captain of Finland’s 2014 championship team, and led the tournament with 13 assists, 15 points and a plus-11 rating in seven games. He’s tied for sixth in WJC history in assists and tied for 16th in points. The left wing will play for the Carolina Hurricanes this season, his eighth in the NHL.

Video: BOS@CAR, Gm4: Teravainen buries nifty backhand

 

Patrik Laine

Tournament: 2016

Statistics: 7 games, 7-6-13

Laine made the most of his only appearance in the World Juniors, helping Finland win the championship, leading all players in goals and making the tournament all-star team. The right wing will play for the Winning Jets this season, his fifth in the NHL.

Video: WPG@EDM: Laine one-times goal from the slot

 

Second line 

Jesse Puljujarvi: 12 games (2015, 2016), 5-12-17; Esa Keskinen: 14 games (1984, 1985), 10-22-32; Raimo Helminen: 14 games (1983, 1984), 11-18-29

 

Defensemen

Reijo Ruotsalainen

Tournaments: 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980

Statistics: 24 games, 9-13-22

Ruotsalainen is one of five defensemen to play in the World Juniors four times, and his 24 games are second among defensemen, behind Robert Sterflinger of West Germany (25). Ruotsalainen’s best WJC was 1980, when he helped Finland finish second, was named the tournament’s best defensemen and led all players at his position with seven points (four goals, three assists) in five games. He played seven NHL seasons with three teams.

 

Teppo Numminen

Tournament: 1988

Statistics: 7 games, 5-2-7

In his only WJC, Numminen helped Finland finish third, was named the tournament’s best defenseman, and led players at his position in goals. His five goals are tied for the second-most by a defenseman in a single WJC, behind Jan Vopat of Czechoslovakia, who scored six in 1993. Numminen played 20 NHL seasons, including 15 with the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise.

Second pair

Sami Lepisto: 7 games (2004), 4-4-8; Kimmo Timonen: 21 games (1993, 1994, 1995), 7-9-16

 

Goalie

Kari Lehtonen

Tournaments: 2001, 2002, 2003

Statistics: 13 games, 8-4-0 (one tie), 1.70 GAA, .930 save percentage

Lehtonen helped Finland to top three finishes each year he played in the WJC. After playing one game as Ari Ahonen’s backup as a 17-year-old in 2001, he was named the tournament’s best goalie in 2002 when he had WJC-best 1.17 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in six games. In 2003 he had a 2.19 GAA and a .923 save percentage in six games. Finland finished second at the 2001 WJC, and third in 2002 and 2003. Lehtonen played 14 NHL seasons with two teams.

Backup

Juuse Saros: 8 games, 5-3-0, 1.94 GAA, .927 save percentage

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