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Defensemen lead New Jersey Devils 2013-14 prospect awards

by John Iadevaia
on

Ryan Kujawinski - New Jersey Devils

Photo: When healthy, Ryan Kujawinski was very productive for the Kingston Frontenacs. Kujawinski was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

With the 2013-14 NHL regular season drawing to a close, it is time to hand out some hardware. For the New Jersey Devils, it was another good season for many prospects. From Albany's rookie class spearheading the team's postseason run, to the success of many collegiate players, as well as Graham Black's stellar year, and the emergence of Miles Wood.

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2014 U18 WJC Preview: USA should challenge for a medal

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Jack Glover - Team USA

Photo: Team USA defenseman and 2014 prospect Jack Glover has been a participant in the NTDP program the past couple of seasons, and is committed to attend the University of Minnesota (courtesy of Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

For USA Hockey, the IIHF U18 World Championship has become the ultimate opportunity to show its teeth and what the program has achieved. The team has been medaling for years and is coming off a disappointing loss to Canada in last spring’s gold medal game, one in which it outshot its northern neighbors, 35-12. This year’s squad is once again heading to the tournament with gold ambitions in mind, but will be looking a bit different than in years past.

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2014 U18 Video: Brandon Fortunato, USA

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Brandon Fortunato - Team USA

Photo: Team USA defenseman and 2014 prospect Brandon Fortunato totaled 17 points in 26 games along with a +23 rating for the NTDP squad competing in the USHL during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

Although not as heralded as some of his defensive mates on Team USA's squad competing at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, defenseman Brandon Fortunato has been an effective player for the NTDP squad during the 2013-14 season.

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2014 U18 Video: Alex Tuch, USA

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Alex Tuch - Team USA

Photo: Team USA forward and 2014 prospect Alex Tuch has been an offensive force for the NTDP squad competing in the USHL, notching 32 points in 26 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

Team USA likely entered the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship knowing they would face difficult opponents over the course of the tournament. But it is likely that they didn't expect a major challenge, let alone a tough loss, in their opening contenst against Switzerland.

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Nashville Predators have junior prospects spread out across four leagues

by Peter Prohaska
on

Jonathan Diaby - Victoriaville Tigres

Photo: Defenseman Jonathan Diaby finished as one of Victoriaville’s top-10 scorers despite appearing in only 38 regular season games in 2013-14 due to injuries (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Nashville has branded itself a franchise that plays a hard-hitting, battle-ready style of hockey. Finding players in this preferred style seems to rely heavily on scouts' ability to read intangibles in these young men.

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2014 U18 WJC Preview: Germany likely headed for relegation showdown

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Andreas Eder - Team Germany

Photo: Bad Tolz forward and 2014 prospect Andreas Eder (L), shown here competing for Germany at the 2013 U18 tournament, spent some time in the WHL this season with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants before returning to Germany (courtesy of ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

For several years now, Team Germany has found a way to not only keep itself afloat as one of the top 10 ice hockey nations in the world at the IIHF U18 World Championship, but has actually managed to battle its way into the quarterfinals. This has been the case for four years running, but the last three years were due in large part to the participation of the dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl and Dominik Kahun.

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2014 U18 WJC Preview: Czech Republic looks like medal contender

by Radoslav Vavrina
on

Vaclav Karabacek - Gatineau Olympiques

Photo: Gatineau Olympiques forward and 2014 prospect Vaclav Karabacek is comepting for the Czech Republic at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship in Finland (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

Twelve months ago in Sochi, the Czech Republic's U18 squad was at the beginning of what could be a beautiful ride that could see the Czechs finally grabbing a medal at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. This year's U18 team from this Central European nation has grown and matured since last year's competition, and is now looking more like a medal contender.

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2014 U18 Video: Simon Kindschi, Switzerland

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Simon Kindschi - Team Switzerland

Photo: HC Davos defenseman Simon Kindschi is one of a handful of sizable defenders competing for Switzerland at the 2014 U18 World Championship in Finland (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

It didn't take long for a surprise win to take place at the 2014 U18 World Championship as Switzerland knocked off the USA, 4-2, in the opening game of the tournament.

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2014 U18 WJC Preview: Switzerland looks to maintain or possibly move up

by Rafik Soliman
on

Kevin Fiala - Team Switzerland

Photo: HV71 forward and 2014 prospect Kevin Fiala (#23) is expected to lead the offense for Switzerland at the 2014 U18 World Championship (courtesy of BJORN LINDGREN/AFP/Getty Images)

After meeting expectations at last year's IIHF U18 World Championship with solid play and qualifying for the quarterfinals for the first time in two years, Switzerland is looking to have the same success this season and is hoping to finally move up among the top 4 countries.

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2014 U18 WJC Preview: Sweden looking to medal after disappointing showing in 2013

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Anton Karlsson - Team Sweden

Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and 2014 prospect Anton Karlsson competed for Sweden at the 2014 U20 WJC, but will play a bigger role for his country at the 2014 U18 tournament (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Last spring, Team Sweden went to Sochi, Russia feeling like a gold medal candidate. After two silver medals in a row and with a line-up chock full of kids who eventually heard their names called at the 2013 NHL Draft, Sweden sent a team into play that didn’t have to hide from anyone.

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