Photo: Team USA defenseman and 2014 prospect Ryan Collins is ranked 57th among North American skaters by Central Scouting for the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
Team USA returned to the top of the U18 hockey heap after defeating the Czech Republic, 5-2, to win gold at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship in Lappeenranta, Finland. The U.S. had a string of four consecutive gold medal wins at this tournament ended by Canada at the 2013 event.
Photo: Team USA forward and 2015 prospect Jack Eichel is slated to attend Boston University starting in the fall of 2014 (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
After losing out to Canada in last year's gold medal game at the IIHF U18 World Championship, Team USA defeated the Czech Republic, 5-2, to earn their fifth gold medal in six years at this event.
Photo: Team Finland forward and 2014 prospect Waltteri Hopponen began the season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, but was released once Mirco Mueller returned to the Silvertips from the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
The host country for the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, Finland, was no doubt hoping to repeat the gold medal performance of that country's U20 squad's win in January at the 2014 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship that was held in Malmo, Sweden.
Photo: Team USA defenseman and 2015 prospect Noah Hanifin is presently committed to attend Boston College starting in 2015, but has also been drafted by the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
The U.S. squad is sporting some top talent at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, not only for the 2014 draft year but also for 2015 and 2016. One of the top talents of any of the coming draft years competing for the U.S. is defenseman Noah Hanifin.
Photo: Team USA forward and 2014 prospect Ryan Hitchcock is slated to attend Yale University starting in the fall of 2014 (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
While there is a fair amount of star power on Team USA's squad competing at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, the roster also sports an unheralded player or two that bring something other than offensive skills or imposing size. One such player is forward Ryan Hitchcock.