Poto: Center Alex Galchenyuk has been impressive in his brief time in the NHL. Galchenyuk is one of two rookies to make the Canadiens roster out of training camp. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens' prospects as a group have shown solid improvement to their overall games this season. Some players have struggled with injuries and finding their games again but most of the group are exceeding their play of last year. The organization's depth and skill in their talent pool is probably the best it's been in quite some time.
Photo: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko got off to an impressive start in his NHL career, making him an easy choice as the NHL's top rookie for January (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
Due to the NHL lockout, January was an abbreviated month, with most teams playing just over half a dozen games. Nonetheless, the Hockey’s Future staff was polled to give their early thoughts on the front-runners for the league's Calder Trophy, which recognizes the NHL's top rookie.
Photo: Selected in the second round of the 2008 draft, forward Danny Kristo appears to have a promising NHL career ahead of him. (courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
In the 2007-08 regular season, the Montreal Canadiens finished first overall in the Eastern Conference before beating their archrivals, the Boston Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs in game seven. The team would eventually bow out in five games to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
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.