World junior hockey championship: Players to watch
Canada's Jonathan Drouin and Russia's Mikhail Grigorenko are among the group of players to watch at the world junior hockey championship, which begins Thursday in Malmo, Sweden.
Drouin, Grigorenko headline list
- Jonathan Drouin, Canada — The flashy scorer and playmaker for the Halifax Mooseheads was one of Canada's best forwards at last year's world juniors and likely will be again. Tampa Bay's third overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft is recovering from a concussion, but expects to be ready for the tournament.
- Mikhail Grigorenko, Russia — The six-foot-three playmaking centre already has 43 games of NHL experience with Buffalo after a stellar junior career with the Quebec Remparts. The Sabres opted to send the 19-year-old back for a third world junior tournament.
- Sam Reinhart, Canada — The offensive motor of the Kootenay Ice, a possible first overall pick in the 2014 draft, was twice captain of Canadian under-18 teams. He has the bloodlines. His father Paul was a star NHL defenceman and his brother Griffin is also on Canada's world junior team.
- William Nylander, Sweden — Born in Calgary, where his father Michael Nylander played for the Flames, he is expected to go high in the 2014 NHL draft. The five-foot-11 centre is only 17, but plays for Modo in Sweden's top pro league.
- Kaspari Kapanen, Finland — The son of former NHL forward Sami Kapanen is another with hockey in the family who should go high in the next NHL draft. He's on the small side at five-foot-10, but is a tricky playmaker who can beat opponents one-on-one.
- Zach Fucale, Canada — The Montreal Canadiens' second-rounder was the first goalie picked in the 2013 draft. He's used to playing behind top talent in big events with the Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mooseheads, so shouldn't be fazed by the world juniors.
- Connor McDavid, Canada — Many consider the Erie Otters' young star the best prospect since Sidney Crosby. How much he will play depends on how ready he is to take on the world's best under-20 players. The supremely skilled forward is only 16 and is the early favourite to go first in the 2015 draft.
- Matt Dumba, Canada — Loaned to the junior squad after starting the season with the Minnesota Wild, Dumba is speedy, puck moving defenceman who likes to dish out big hits.
- Leon Draisaitl, Germany — The six-foot-one 200-pound centre for the Prince Albert Raiders is considered an A-level prospect for the 2014 draft. The 18-year-old can score and make plays.
- Adam Erne, United States — The six-foot-one power forward for the Quebec Remparts was the one who concussed Drouin with a hit from behind. Funny thing is, they were both drafted by Tampa Bay in June. Erne is likely to be a challenge to opponents for his scoring touch and his hard-nosed style.