2014 U18 Video: Jake Virtanen and Matt Barzal, Canada

By Chapin Landvogt

Matt Barzal - Seattle Thunderbirds

Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds forward and 2015 prospect Matt Barzal is one of a handful of players on Team Canada’s U18 squad that are still more than a year away from potentially having their named called at the NHL Draft (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Team Canada opened the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship with a well earned 3-1 win over Sweden. The Canadians are looking to successfully defend the gold medal that they won in Sochi last year at this tournament.

The scoring heroes for Canada in this game were forwards Jake Virtanen and Matt Barzal. Virtanen scored the first two goals of the game, one in the first and the game-winner in the second, while Barzal salted it away for Canada in the third period.

Virtanen, who plays for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, comes into this tournament as a highly rated prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. A good performance in Finland might well raise his already lofty draft ranking. Barzal, on the other hand, comes into the tournament as one of the younger players taking part in the U18. The Seattle Thunderbirds forward isn't eligible for the NHL Draft until 2015.

Virtanen and Barzal spoke with Hockey's Future following the win over Sweden, conversations that have been captured in this HF video.

Follow Chapin Landvogt on Twitter via @Csomichapin