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Brayden Yager, Two Other Penguins Prospects Set for World Juniors



Brayden Yager, Team Canada. Photo, Courtesy of Team Canada
Brayden Yager. Photo courtesy of Team Canada.

As it happens, Team Canada and Team Finland meet in an opening game Tuesday at the World Junior Championships, and that means three Pittsburgh Penguins prospects will be involved.

Forward Brayden Yager, the Penguins’ first-round draft pick in June, is playing for Canada in the annual holiday-time tournament, a major event for NHL prospects.

Defensemen Emil Pieniniemi and Kalle Kangas are on the Team Finland roster. Pieniniemi was a Penguins third-round 2023 draft pick, Kangas a seventh-rounder in June.

Yager, playing for Moose Jaw in the junior Western Hockey League, has 17 goals, 41 points in 28 games this season. With Team Canada, he won a gold  medal in the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Pieniniemi signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Penguins in July. He has played with three teams in  Finland, including Karpat in the country’s highest-level pro league, this season. He has four assists in 23 games with Karpat. He played in the 2022 under-18 world championships, and won a bronze medal at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Kangas has three goals, six points in 22 games with Jokerit of Mestis in Finland’s secondary pro league. He played in the 2023 under-18 world championships and was Pieniniemi’s teammate on the bronze medal  Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

The Canada-Finland game Tuesday will air on NHL Network at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

Canada is the two-time defending world juniors champion.

The 2024 world juniors are being held Tuesday through Jan. 5 in Gothenberg, Sweden. You can find the schedule, including watching information, here.