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Amy Moritz's Stick Taps: Five players to watch ahead of the World Juniors in Buffalo

The final roster won't be announced until December for the IIHF Men's World Junior Championship which returns to Buffalo from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. But there were some impressive performances in August at the World Junior Summer Showcase in August in Plymouth, Mich. That gives us five players to watch this fall:

1. Carter Hart, goaltender, Canada

Drafted in the second round, 48th overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2016, Hart helped Canada reach the gold medal game in the 2017 World Junior Championships. He is playing major-junior hockey this season with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Hart won the league's award for best goaltender last year.

2. Adam Fox, defenseman, United States

He had four assists for the U.S. at last year's World Juniors. Fox returns to Harvard for his sophomore season after an incredible freshman run when he earend All-America status and won the ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors with six goals and 24 assists. He was drafted in the third round by the Calgary Flames in 2016.

3. Casey Mittelstadt, forward, United States

The first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2017 had an outstanding World Junior Summer Showcase, tying for the tournament lead with nine points (three goals, six assists) in five games. Dominant in every game, he's poised to make the U.S. team after being one of the last cuts in 2017. Mittelstadt begins his freshman year at Minnesota.

4. Brady Tkachuk, forward, United States

The 18-year old enters his draft year as a freshman at Boston University. He spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program gaining a ton of experience in international competition. He comes from an NHL family. His father is former NHL forward Keith Tkachuk, while his brother, Matthew, was drafted sixth overall in 2016 by the Calgary Flames.

5. Rasmus Dahlin, defenseman, Sweden

Dahlin is the early front runner to go No. 1 in the 2018 draft. The 17-year-old has shown offensive ability from the blue line and already scored his first goal of the season for Frolunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League. He has been compared to NHL superstar Erik Karlsson.

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