The Americans are making some statements in the Czech Republic right now at the World Junior Championship, so it’s no surprise we gotta give some love to the young Red, White and Blue.
1. James van Riemsdyk, LW - New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East): Leading the tourney in scoring after the round robin with 10 points in four games, van Riemsdyk has paced the powerhouse Americans to an unblemished record. Drafted second overall by Philadelphia in 2007.
2. Jordan Schroeder, LW - U.S. NTDP (NAHL): Oh, the anticipation for a top prospect with a fall birthday. Schroeder is the youngest member of Team USA, but his playmaking ability sure hasn’t indicated it. Full cage or not, the 17-year-old is definitely igniting some buzz. Draft eligible in 2009.
3. Robin Figren, LW - Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL): Figren is averaging just under a point per game in the Dub, but he has played better than that at the WJC, with four goals and six points in four games. Drafted 70th overall by the Islanders in 2006.
4. Patrik Berglund, C - Vasteras (Swe. 2): The big Blues selection hasn’t gotten a lot of ink in North America since his hot rookie camp in the summer, but Berglund has come to play in Pardubice. Drafted 25th overall by St. Louis in 2006.
5. Colin Wilson, C - Boston Terriers (Hockey East): The top draft eligible American right now, Wilson is making a good show of it at the world juniors, second only to van Riemsdyk in scoring. Draft eligible in 2008.
6. John Tavares, C - Oshawa Generals (OHL): Tavares is getting his goals and keeping his legacy going, even if Canada isn’t the juggernaut many expected. Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Drew Doughty, D - Guelph Storm (OHL): If anyone on Canada has improved their draft status, it’s Doughty, who makes the No. 1 selection an interesting choice if the NHL team with the pick needs a defenseman. Draft eligible in 2008.
8. Julius Hudacek, G - Spisska Nova Ves (Svk.): Hudacek may not be playing for a contender, but he has given his all at the world juniors. Ten of the 14 goals he surrendered were on special teams. Draft eligible in 2008.
9. Steven Stamkos, C - Sarnia Sting (OHL): Stamkos is settling in as a nice playmaker in the tournament and protecting his No. 1 position in the draft with four assists in four games. Draft eligible in 2008.
10. Victor Hedman, D - Modo (Swe.): The big defenseman has been a rock for the junior Tre Kronor, leading the entire tourney in plus-minus with a plus-6 through four games. Draft eligible in 2009.
11. Johan Motin, D - Farjestad (Swe.): Right behind Hedman is fellow countryman Motin, who may not have the same crazy size as his teammate, but is shaping up to be an NHL-ready prospect in his own right. Draft eligible in 2008.
12. Jakub Voracek, RW - Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): It ain’t easy playing in front of the home crowd, but Voracek has been having a blast in Pardubice, playing on a line with fellow first round pick Michael Frolik and doing what he does best - make sick passes. Drafted seventh overall by Columbus in 2007.
13. Kyle Okposo, RW - Team USA: Gotta think this will be one of the last times Okposo will be eligible for The Hot List, since he signed a contract with the Isles and looks primed to join them once the juniors end. Okposo has played really solid for Team USA, proving his lackluster season with Minnesota was more about his situation than his talent. Drafted seventh overall by the Islanders in 2006.
14. Steve Mason, G - London Knights (OHL): With just one goal against (and a power play score, at that) in two games, Mason is boasting the sickest stats in the tourney, though coach Craig Hartsburg must decide whether it’s him or Jonathan Bernier guiding Canada through the medal round. Drafted 69th overall by Columbus in 2006.
15. Kyle Turris, C - Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA): Turris has given Canada goals when it needed them and has looked dangerous all tournament long. The Coyotes are stockpiling a lot of top-shelf talent; are we looking at Penguins West in a few seasons? Drafted third overall by Phoenix in 2007.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re exciting to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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