Photo: Sarnia Sting forward and 2014 prospect Nikolay Goldobin is the Sting’s leading scorer this season with 81 points, a point total that ties him for fifth overall in the OHL (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For most draft-eligible players, receiving a first-round grade and spot in the top 15 would be cause for celebration. But most players aren’t Sarnia Sting forward Nikolay Goldobin, a player who has set some lofty goals for himself.
Photo: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov took part in the Subway Super Series with Team Russia and was a late cut from Russia’s 2014 World Junior squad (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
In spite of producing great defensemen like Sergei Gonchar, Vyacheslav Fetisov, and Sergei Zubov, Russia has a better reputation for developing forwards. This is well reflected in the NHL prospect situation in the KHL, where there are a number of intriguing offensive prospects, but only a few defenders with solid NHL potential.
Photo: Team Russia forward Pavel Buchnevich celebrates his clinching goal in the 2014 WJC quarterfinal match vs. Team USA, a game won by the Russians, 5-3 (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)
For the second year in a row, Team Russia came back home from the World Junior Championship with a bronze medal, once again beating Canada to earn that medal. If this can’t be considered a disaster, it cannot be considered a great success, either.
Photo: Russian players Nikita Zadorov (L) and Mikhail Grigorenko (R) celebrate Grigorenko’s goal, the first one for Russia in their 2-1 win over Canada in the bronze medal game at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN / TT/AFP/Getty Images)
For the fourth straight year, Russia earned a medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship. And, for the third time in those four years, Canada was on the losing side of that equation as Russia won the bronze medal game at this year's event, 2-1. With both countries entering the tournament with elevated expectations, playing for bronze is not something they planned on doing. But, with other countries showing improvement in their hockey programs, it may well be the new normal for these two hockey powers.
Photo: The offensive exploits of Team Canada forward Anthony Mantha weren’t enough to carry Canada to the gold medal game at the 2014 World Junior Championship, with that country instead battling for bronze with Russia (courtesy of BJORN LINDGREN / TT/AFP/Getty Images)
It is safe to say that neither team wanted to be in this position, yet Canada and Russia find themselves battling for the bronze medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship. The two teams met in the bronze medal game at last year's WJC in Ufa, Russia, a game won by the host Russians.