After the New York Islanders witnessed two prospects in Aatu Räty and William Dufour go head-to-head for gold at the 2022 World Junior Championships back in August, the tournament is once again upon us. The Islanders have two players at the 2023 World Junior Championships in Canada, which kicks off Monday.
New York Islanders sixth-round pick (189th overall) in 2021, Aleksi Malinen, will be representing Finland while their second-round selection (65th overall) in 2022, Calle Odelius, will be representing Sweden.
Both have yet to represent their respective countries at the U-20 tournament.
The 19-year-old defenseman Aleksi Malinen wil be playing on the second defense pair for Finland at this tournament, which should allow the New York Islanders and their fans to get a strong look at him.
— Jatkoaika (@jatkoaika) December 26, 2022
The six-foot, 169-pound left-shot defenseman started his 2022-23 campaign with HT Jyvaskyla of the Finnish Premier League. In 25 games, the Tuusula native recorded just two assists.
This is Malinen’s third season as a member of HT Jyvaskyla, having played 61 games in Finland’s top league with two goals and three assists.
Malinen has also played one game in the second-tier league for KeuPa HT of Mestis, with a goal. Last season, he played two games for Mestis with no points.
Per Dobber Prospects, “Malinen is a mobile skater who can accelerate quickly in any direction and has some playmaking potential. However, a lack of production in Finland so far tilts a projection toward a bottom-pairing blueliner with sneaky upside. A long-term project.”
Finland 🇫🇮 gets in the board first against Russia 🇷🇺!
Joakim Kemell (#2022NHLDraft) transitions the puck and then makes a great pass against the grain to set up a charging Aleksi Malinen (#NYI) who makes a nice play as he comes around the back of the net! #FourNations
🇫🇮 1-0 🇷🇺 pic.twitter.com/Q7nLHJ3pdH
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) August 27, 2021
We shall see how he shows himself as Finland takes on Switzerland at 11 AM EST.
We met Calle Odelius at this past draft, and he was a pleasure to talk to, as one can imagine how excited he was to hear his name called in the second round at the Bell Centre.
The 18-year-old left-handed defenseman stands at six feet, weighing 185 pounds, out of the SHL. Last season, in 43 games in the J20 Nationell league with Djurgårdens IF, the Swedish native notched seven goals with 23 assists. In six playoff game, Odelius had two assists.
This season in the highest division of Swedish professional hockey, representing Djurgårdens IF, Odelius has five assists in 26 games. He has played one game with their junior team, notching an assist.
Watching some Calle Odelius shift by shift and this assist was 🔥. Breaks the attacker's ankles on a pivot, grabs open ice and fires from the point. Deflected in. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/cxKIqYcFVb
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) March 8, 2022
Per draft guru Marco D’Amico, Calle Odelius is a strong skater. He’s not a physical player, but he has a very strong hockey IQ.
Per Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, Odelius was one of the best skaters in his draft class.
We do not yet know what pairing Odelius will be on for Sweden as they face Austria at 1:30 PM ET.