The IIHF World Junior Championships are less than three weeks away. Time to cue the commercials saturated with images of current NHL stars when they represented their country’s top teens and to look at those aspiring to join that pantheon.
Several of the tournament’s participating countries have already released their training camp rosters, which will be whittled down to 23 in the days leading up to the traditional Boxing Day beginning of round robin action.
Reserved strictly for players under the age of 20 at the time of the first faceoff, this year’s WJC may include the likes of the established, but locked-out Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The rest of the veterans, though, will come with the more conventional backstory of having been chosen two NHL drafts ago, but still having yet to see substantial NHL action.
The better part of the pool will be comprised of 2011 and 2012 draft picks. A few of those eligible for 2013 will have one of their more radiant opportunities to amplify or cement their stock.
For the sake of selectiveness, balance and numerical motif, here is a glance at the top 20 NHL aspirants from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 draft classes to watch in the World Juniors. Innumerable other notables, such as the recently injured Ryan Murray, were omitted, though they naturally still have plenty of promise themselves.