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3 Penguins Play in the 2024 World Junior Championship

Photo courtesy of Soundcloud.

The U.S. National Jr. Team claimed gold at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 6-2 victory over host Sweden. The U.S. has now won 6 championship gold medals, coming in 2021, 2017, 2013, 2010, and 2004. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins had 3 prospects from the 2023 NHL Draft playing in the tournament. Brayden Yager, who the Penguins selected 14th overall last season, represented Canada while 2 prospects played Finland—Emil Pieniniemi and Kalle Kangas. 

Yager is having a productive season in the WHL at Moose Jaw, with 41 points in 28 games. He had a solid 5 games in the tournament scoring 2 goals and 3 assists for Canada while putting up a +6 overall. He was one of the top centers on the Canadian team and showed some elite skating and play making during the tournament. Though he is still several years away from PPG Paints Arena, he gave the Penguins' fans a glimpse of who may be leading the Penguins' 1st line one day. 

Emil Pieniniemi was the 3rd round (91st overall) draft pick of the Penguins in 2023. A blueliner playing for Karpat of the SM-Liiga, he has 4 assists in 22 games. During the tournament, Pieniniemi played in 7 games and was held scoreless while playing to a -2 rating. He is a work in progress and showed he has NHL size and skating ability but is still coming together as a total package. 

Kalle Kangas is another blue liner the Penguins selected in 2023. A 7th rounder, Kangas has 3 goals and 3 assists in 23 for Jokerit in the Finnish League. During the tournament, he was silent in the box score but showed that he was not afraid to throw his 6’4” frame around. He had 4 PIM and was a +2 in 7 games for Finland. 

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