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On Friday, the Finnish Ice Hockey Association announced its preliminary roster for the upcoming 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

Finland's roster includes six returning players from last year's roster where they placed fourth after losing to Sweden in the bronze medal game. The returning players are: Goaltender: Kari Piiroinen. Defencemen: Santeri Hatakka (SJS-2019), Ville Heinola (WPG-2019), and Mikko Kokkonen (TOR-2019). Forwards: Ville Petman, and Aku Raty (ARZ-2019).

There are a couple of notable omissions from Finland's roster, Patrik Puistola (CAR-2019), and Aatu Raty (2021). Both players were on the Finns roster for the 2020 World Juniors, but were not included for the 2021 tournament.

Puistola, 19, is currently playing for JYP in Liiga, and has 6 points (2 G, 4 A), 6 penalty minutes, and is a +2. Raty, 18, is playing for Karpat in Liiga. In 6 games, he's put up 2 points (2 G), 0 penalty minutes, and is a +/-0. The lack of productivity is more than likely the reason why they were not included on Finland's preliminary roster.

On the bright side for the Finns, they will have two new offensive weapons that weren't on last year's team. Florida Panthers 2020 first round pick, Anton Lundell, and projected top-three pick for the 2022 NHL entry draft, Brad Lambert, were included on this year's roster.

Finland will play two pre-tournament games prior to opening their 2021 World Junior campaign. They will face the Czech Republic on December 20th at 9:30 pm ET/7:30 pm MT (local time), and then on December 22nd they'll play the United States at 6 pm ET/4 pm MT (local time).

The Finns will open up the 2021 World Juniors on Christmas Day against Germany at 6 pm ET/4 pm MT (local time).
DECEMBER 4, 2020  (14H26)