Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
Last summer’s second overall pick at the NHL Draft, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, jumped straight into the NHL as many thought he might. Landeskog has traveled far in one year's time, as he now stands as a finalist for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL's Rookie of the Year.
Photo: Minnesota Wild defensive prospect Jonas Brodin is seeing plenty of ice time at the 2012 World Championships in Stockholm (courtesy of
Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
Last summer, Jonas Brodin was one of the fast risers at the 2012 NHL Draft, ultimately being taken 10th overall by the Minnesota Wild. That draft ranking came on the strength of some regular SEL play for the Swedish champion Farjestad, as well as a top-flight performance at the 2011 U18 World Championship. This past season was yet another eventful one for the 18-year-old, most especially in light of his WJC gold medal performance.
The gold medal game at the 2012 World Junior Championship should be an intriguing match-up as it features the two countries that did battle in last year's deciding game, the USA and Sweden. The U.S. took the gold last year with a dramatic overtime win over the Swedes, so Sweden comes into this game with revenge on their mind.
Photo: Forward Kerby Rychel of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires has had a productive U-18 WJC tournament, but he and his Canadian teammates had a disappointing preliminary round (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The preliminary round of the IIHF 2012 U18 World Championships concluded with a bang as the US downed Canada in yet another classic episode between the North American rivals. A back and forth tilt was ended when Matt Lane popped in an empty-net goal in the 60th minute, his second point of the night and sixth of the tournament.
Photo: Goalie Andrei Vasilevski has a good chance of being the first goaltender to be drafted in to the 2012 NHL Draft. (Photo courtesy of
The 2012 IIHF U18 Tournament is upon us and, as in recent years, has the international scouting community licking its chops. This year's edition once again features a number of young men representing their country on the international scene who will hear their names called at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. For many of them, this tournament will be the pinnacle of all their work this season and will leave a lasting impression – whether good or bad – in the minds and notebooks of what should be well over 120 NHL scouts in attendance. For all of them, this event will be an opportunity to go out and give it everything they've got for their native country, a motivation that often has no rival in the minds and hearts of 16-18 year olds. But which country will benefit most from that attitude? What teams can least afford to take a night off? Which players should be pushing the hardest for a victory in the tournament's final game? Here's what you can expect from the frontrunners for a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF U18 Tournament.