Photo: Kitchener Rangers goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson has been especially sharp in the nets for Team USA at the 2013 World Juniros (courtesy of Josh Holmberg /Icon SMI)
While there isn't just one element that contributes to a gold medal win at the World Junior Championship, one thing that is almost always needed to complete the feat is strong goaltending. And right now at the 2013 edition of this tournament, it appears that Team USA has that element locked up heading into the gold medal game.
Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Bemidji State winger and Anaheim Ducks prospect Radoslav Illo, shown here playing for Slovakia, has so far experienced a lengthy adjustment period to the NCAA's brand of hockey (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
When the Anaheim Ducks drafted Radoslav Illo in the fifth round (136th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, the organization thought it would be getting a potential pure goal scorer.
Photo: Goal-scoring winger Kyle Palmieri may not be far away from establishing himself with the Ducks after short NHL stints in his first two pro seasons. (courtesy of Patrick Green/ Icon SMI)
Even though in 2012 the Anaheim Ducks suffered their worst regular season finish in eight years, there is a ton to be excited about moving forward for Ducks hockey. Over the years the organization has compiled a solid group of hard working, blue-collar prospects, several which are on the cusp of NHL careers. The list may be void of a true stand out "superstar" but the Ducks have compiled a plethora of solid puck-moving defenseman and gritty and talented forwards. Names like Emerson Etem, Sami Vatanen, and Nicolas Kerdiles are just a few on a long list that is filled with potential.
Photo: Former USHL scoring star Kevin Roy switched schools prior to the 2012-13 season and is now playing for Northeastern in the Hockey East conference (courtesy of Jim Pierce)
Like any NCAA rookie, Kevin Roy was eager for the start of his first year of college hockey. His excitement shone through in his debut with Northeastern University, where the Quebec native scored the game-winner and added an assist to help his new team earn the win against Merrimack.