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: Sarnia Sting captain and Montreal Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk has had a good offensive showing at the 2013 World Juniors (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Team USA entered their New Year's Eve showdown with Slovakia knowing that they had to win to keep their medal hopes alive. And win they did, posting a 9-3 victory over the Slovaks to ensure that the USA lives to fight another day.
Photo: Defenseman Morgan Ellis is one of several first-year players for the Hamilton Bulldogs. Ellis was selected 117th overall by the Canadiens in 2010. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
Last season, the Hamilton Bulldogs finished near the bottom of the AHL and failed to make the Calder Cup playoff, a fate similar to their parent club, the Montreal Canadiens. New General Manager, Marc Bergevin decided to bring in a completely new Bulldogs' coaching staff, adding a good mix of NHL and junior experience with head coach Sylvain Lefebvre, assistants Donald Dufresne, Ron Wilson, and goaltending coach Vincent Riendeau.
Photo: Drafted ninth overall in 2010, Finnish Center Mikael Granlund has made his AHL debut this season. Granlund was widely considered one of the best hockey players not playing in North America. (Juan DeLeon/Icon SMI)
Below is the top-10 section of 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.
Photo: Dartmouth forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Dustin Walsh looked to be coming into his own in 2011-12 but ended up sidelined for most of the season due to injury (courtesy of Bob Fisher/NHLI via Getty Images)
After having his season shortened last year due to a nasty hip injury, Dustin Walsh is now healthy and is looking to impress.
The Dartmouth forward was on pace for a breakout season last year for the Big Green before he tore his labrum and needed surgery. Walsh was off to a hot start last season with 10 points through only his first eight games. It was the first time Walsh had averaged over a point per game (1.25). He averaged the most points per game for the season for Dartmouth and it would have also been good for fifth-best in the ECAC. Walsh’s previous career high point total was 20, so he was well on his way to breaking that.