Another World Juniors has come and gone. Some people might say that this was one of the best tournaments in recent years for a number of reasons.
For one, Canada did not even make it to the gold medal game, which is a good thing for the sport because many people were tired of seeing them at the top, so a change of scenery is very nice.
Next, the goaltending we saw in this year's tournament was truly incredible. The future is looking very bright at that position, and this tournament is a testament to that.
So in this article, we will break down the top ten goaltenders from this year's World Juniors.
Coming into this years World Juniors, you knew that Switzerland's goaltending would not be as good as it was in recent years because former World Junior legend Benjamin Conz was too old. Therefore, the Swiss had to rely on 6'1" goalie Tim Wolf.
Wolf gained some attention for his performance in a 3-0 loss to Russia, in which he was named player of the game. Against the USA in the final game of the tournament, he made 40 saves in a tight 2-1 loss.
Wolf finished the tournament with a .910 SVS% and a 2.84 GAA in the five games he played.
USA, for the first time in many years, failed to progress to the playoffs of this year's World Juniors and were sent to the Relegation Round, where they had to battle just to make the tournament next year. Goaltender Jack Campbell should be receiving little or any of the blame for that because he had a decent tournament.
He didn't put the team on his back, but he made some saves, and it just wasn't enough for a US squad that lacked fire power in games against the Czechs, Finland, and Canada.
Campbell posted a .906 SVS% and a 2.62 GAA in five games.
One of the most talked about goalies in the tournament was Denmark's Sebastian Feuk. His last name made him very popular on Twitter throughout the World Juniors and was even trending during his game against Canada.
Feuk became known in his first game of the tournament for his miraculous glove save against the USA that earned itself on every sports highlight show in North America and was even named that day's TSN Sportscentre Highlight Of The Night.
That save can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaPk6bzhbPM
However, playing on the worst team in the tournament, Feuk was constantly under fire and faced the most shots of any goaltender in this years World Juniors, stopping 208 of 248 shots going 0-4-2 with a .839 SVS% while starting every game for Denmark.
Feuk was most under fire against Canada and Finland. When playing back-to-back days, he made 41 and 50 saves respectively.
Slovakia finally got itself back into the medal round after a two-year absence because of some good offense and finally some sturdy goaltending that the Slovaks lacked ever since the days of Jaroslav Janus.
Juraj Simboch was solid throughout the tournament, as he posted good numbers and made some great saves for his team.
Simboch was at his best when he made 37 saves in a tight 3-1 loss to the eventual silver medalists, team Russia.
Simboch finished the tournament with a 2-3 record and a .886 SVS%.
Visentin actually posted some good numbers for a change this year, but it wasn't enough, as his Canadian team fell to Russia 6-5 in the Semifinals.
The Phoenix Coyotes prospect played well in the bronze medal game and made 27 saves for a 4-0 win over Finland. That was not the medal Team Canada was looking for, but at the end of the day they'll take it.
Visentin posted a .944 SVS% and a 1.43 GAA in four games.
Some people may argue that Gustafsson should be ranked higher than fifth. But the reality is that he was not that good compared to the other goalies ranked higher than him this tournament.
Yes, he made 17 saves for a shutout in the gold medal game; bare in mind the Russian goalie Makarov fourty more saves than Gustafsson in that game.
In most games, Gustafsson was outplayed by the opposing goaltender, and that is why he is only fifth on the list.
The Minnesota Wild still have themselves a gem in Gustafsson, so expect big things from this young goaltender in the future.
Gustafsson posted a .888 SVS% and a 2.20 GAA in five games.
The Saskatoon Blades' starting goalie, Andrei Makarov, put on one of the greatest goaltending performances in World Junior history, and it just so happened to be in the gold medal game.
Andrei Makarov was the backup goalie to incumbent starter Andrei Vasilevski throughout the tournament. But when Vasilevski allowed five goals to Canada in the semifinal, Makarov got the surprise call to start in the gold medal game. It turned out to be a great decision by the Russian coach because Makarov made 57 saves but fell just short of the Gold in a 1-0 overtime loss to Sweden.
Makarov is draft elgible this year, so expect him to be selected within the third round. He also posted an incredible .979 in just three games and a minuscule 0.89 GAA.
The Detroit Red Wings have a history of being one of the best teams when it comes to drafting well and making great late round picks, and it appears they have another gem in Petr Mrazek. The 141th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft put on the tournament of his life.
Mrazek was incredible to say the least in a shocking 5-2 upset win over the Americans, making 52 saves. He also performed some truly amazing celebrations throughout the latter stages of the game that made him an instant fan favorite.
Those celebrations can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMxrAV4Lo1c
In the quarterfinals, Mrazek put on another show, this time against the Russians, making 43 saves before falling 2-1 in overtime.
Mrazek played every minute of the tournament for the Czechs and posted an impressive .928 SVS% and a 2.49 GAA and got the "Best Goalkeeper" award even though the Czech's only finished fifth.
We all cannot wait to see more of Mrazek in the future.
Finland has a rich history of producing great goaltenders at the NHL level, and Sami Aittokallio is going to be Finland's next great goalie. Aittokallio is the real deal and carried a Finnish team that lacked sturdy defense to a shootout in the semifinals before they ultimately fell to Sweden and finished fourth.
Aittokallio was the best player for his team all tournament, and it showed with just incredible numbers. He posted a .937 SVS% and a 2.52 GAA in five games.
We first saw Aittokallio when he made 38 saves and stunned the USA in a 4-1 win. He next made 36 saves against the Czechs for a 4-0 shutout win. The semifinal with Sweden was where he was at his best, however, stopping 55 shots before ultimately falling 3-2 in a shootout in what might have been the most entertaining game of the tournament.
Aittokallio is a draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche and will likely be coming to North America next year, so he is definitely one to put on your radar for the future.
Andrei Vasilevski is our choice for the best goaltender of this year's World Juniors. The 17-year-old silver medalist put on a clinic throughout the tournament and made his name known to scouts all over the hockey world.
The Russian netminder went from being virtually unknown to now being a potential first round draft choice in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Vasilevski made his name known in the very first game of the tournament, making 40 saves for a 3-0 shutout win over Switzerland. Vasilevski next made 30 saves in a 14-0 shutout win over Latvia. He then would make 51 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to Sweden to end the preliminary round.
Onto the medal round, where Vasilevski defeated the Czech Republic, stopping 38 of 39 shots in a 2-1 overtime win. In the semifinals against Canada, he stopped 44 of 49 shots before being surprisingly pulled in a 6-5 win.
That was the last we saw of Vasilevski in this tournament, as he watched the gold medal game from the bench. But he still did enough to get number one spot on my list of the top 10 goaltenders in the World Juniors.
Vasilevski had the best stats of any goalie in the tournament with a .953 SVS% and a 2.01 GAA with two shutouts in five games.
Expect to hear a lot more about Andrei Vasilevski in the next few years, as he has the potential to be the next great Russian netminder.