Photo: Kamloops Blazers forward and Dallas Stars prospect Cole Ully is currently the leading scorer on the rebuilding Blazers (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Imagine spending two full seasons battling for ice time on a veteran-laden junior hockey team, one that was built to produce high-octane scoring in pursuit of a Western Hockey League championship. And then, when the elite performers finally move on, graduating to professional or Canadian University hockey, your time as a veteran leader emerges as the team is entrenched in rebuilding mode.
Photo: Finland defenseman and 2014 prospect Julius Honka has been a top rookie in the WHL during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
To look at the stat line for Finland defender Julius Honka following the completion of the 2014 World Junior Championship, it would be easy to assume that the offensive defenseman didn't have an effective showing at this event.
Photo: Prince Albert Raiders forward and 2014 prospect Leon Draisaitl scored at a point-per-game pace during the 2014 World Juniors despite missing time due to penalties and suspensions (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
While the goal may have been modest, Germany's 2014 World Junior Championship entry managed to maintain their place among hockey's top countries at the U20 level by virtue of their winning a best-of-three, relegation round series over a tough Norway squad. By virtue of their win, Germany will take part in the 2015 WJC that will be held in Toronto, ON and Montreal, QC a year from now, while Norway once again drops down to the Division 1A WJC.
Photo: Kootenay Ice forward and 2014 prospect Sam Reinhart won’t have long to shake off the disappointment of the 2014 WJC as he’ll be taking part in the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on January 15th (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
For Team Canada, the 2014 World Junior Championship played out very much as last year's U20 WJC ended up, with Canada going home as the fourth place team and no hardware in hand. And just like the 2013 event, it was Russia that defeated Canada to take the bronze medal, this time with a 2-1 win.
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.