Photo: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse has developed into a potential top 10 selection with his combination of size, grit and offensive ability (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
When talk of the top defensemen available for the 2013 NHL Draft bubbled up over the course of the 2012-13 season, those discussions pretty much began and ended with potential first overall selection, Seth Jones.
Photo: Portland Winterhawks forward and St. Louis Blues prospect Ty Rattie has continued his scoring exploits in the 2012-13 post-season, helping the Winterhawks make the Memorial Cup Tournament after near misses the past two years (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The puck drops for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup starting Friday evening at 6 PM CST. The host city’s Saskatoon Blades take on the Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights to kick off a tournament that features the CHL’s three top-ranked clubs (and the unranked hosts). In addition, several highly-ranked 2013 prospects plus many well-regarded NHL prospects will be taking part in this tournament.
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.
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.
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.