NHL Draft Coverage

2014 NHL Draft Results – Round 1

  • News & Features

Ekblad transitioning from exceptional status to leadership role

by Jason Menard
on

Aaron Ekblad - Barrie Colts

Photo: Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad has been effective during his team’s run to the OHL Championship series (courtesy of CHL Images)

There are those who wonder if the Ontario Hockey League is being too liberal with its application of Exceptional Player status. But for the now-17-year-old defenseman who was the second to burst through those now-open floodgates, the key to exceptional status is the ability to be a normal, functioning, part of a junior team.

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2013 U18 WJC: Zach Nastasiuk, Canada

by Chapin Landvogt
on
Zach Nastasiuk - Owen Sound Attack

Photo: Owen Sound Attack forward Zach Nastasiuk has followed up a solid sophomore season in the OHL with a gold medal win at the 2013 U18 World Juniors (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

While Team Canada seemingly rode the gifted talent of forward Connor McDavid to their gold medal win over the USA at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, there were contributions right down the roster over the course of this tournament.

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2013 U18 WJC Video: Connor McDavid, Laurent Dauphin, and Sam Reinhart, Canada

by Chapin Landvogt
on
Team Canada - 2013 U18 World Junior Championship Gold Medal Game

Photo: Team Canada strikes the traditional championship team pose after going undefeated at the 2013 U18 WJC to win the gold medal (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

If it's Russia, it must mean gold for Canada at the U18 World Junior Championship as, for the third time on Russian soil, the Canadians once again came away with this tournament's top prize after defeating Team USA, 3-2, in the gold medal game.

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2013 U18 WJC Video: Connor Clifton, USA

by Chapin Landvogt
on
Connor Clifton - USA

Photo: USA defenseman Connor Clifton is moving from one high-achieving program to another as he’ll be leaving the U.S. NTDP to play for Quinnipiac University beginning in the fall of 2013 (courtesy of Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

Winning four straight gold medals at any high-level competition is a difficult undertaking, but Team USA had done just that heading into the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship in Sochi, Russia. But winning “one for the thumb”, so to speak, proved to be a challenge just out of the reach of the American squad as they were defeated by Canada in the U18 gold medal game, 3-2.

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2013 U18 WJC Video: Shane Eiserman, USA

by Chapin Landvogt
on
Shane Eiserman - Team USA

Photo: Team USA forward Shane Eiserman is taking part in his first U18 tournament after completing his first season as part of the U.S. NTDP (courtesy of Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

Early on at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, it looked as though Team USA might not have enough to make a run at a fifth consecutive gold medal at this tournament. But the team has come together as the U18 has progressed and, after a wild, 4-3 shootout win over host Russia in the semi-finals, the USA will in fact do battle for another gold medal.

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