Photo: Prince Albert Raiders forward and 2014 draft prospect Leon Draisaitl is a finalist for the WHL's Rookie of the Year award (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The Prince Albert Raiders have struggled to make the playoffs for the last several years, despite the best efforts of players like current team leader and first-round NHL draft pick, Mark McNeil (CHI). Enter Leon Draisaitl, a German-born WHL rookie and 2014 draft-eligible forward who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in his rookie season. Draisaitl and McNeil combined for 125 points and led the Raiders to their first post-season appearance in almost a decade.
Photo: Washington Capitals prospect Philipp Grubauer, shown here playing for the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, has performed impressively so far in the ECHL (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The ECHL and the ECHL All-Star Game has quietly become one of the top showcases and grooming grounds for upcoming National Hockey League goaltenders.
Just ask the Washington Capitals.
Photo: Forward Sebastian Uvira, who just competed for Germany at the 2013 WJC, has a new team in the OHL as he has been dealt by the Oshawa Generals to the Plymouth Whalers (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Coming into the 2013 World Junior Championship, Team Germany’s head coach Ernst Hofner went about his preparatory business knowing right from the beginning that his country was fighting to avoid relegation, that an appearance in the relegation round was just short of pre-programmed, and that Germany would be using the preliminary round to prepare for what would likely come down to a game between Germany and – should there be no surprises – Latvia. This may have been the forecast made by most beforehand, and it was exactly how things ended up.
Photo: Kitchener Rangers forward and Edmonton Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder has represented his country of Germany very well at four U-20 WJC events(courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
With their 5-2 win over Latvia, Team Germany accomplished their main goal of avoiding relegation at the 2013 World Junior Championship. The win allows the Germans to compete in the top WJC grouping again next year when the tournament is held in Sweden.
Photo: German forward Leon Draisaitl, who plays for the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders, came through for his country in a game they needed to win to stay in the WJC's top grouping (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
For the German squad competing at the 2013 World Junior Championship, the main goal wasn't winning gold but instead simply avoiding relegation to next year's Division 1 WJC. Germany accomplished this goal, barely, defeating Lativa 5-2, marking the first time in 15 years that the Germans stayed in the top group in consecutive tournaments.