WJHC – In Retrospect

31 December 2010

What do four of the top five scorers from last year’s World Junior Hockey Championships have in common? All four are playing in the NHL.

Last year’s top scorer for the tournament played for the gold medal winning team from the United States. This season, Derek Stepan is playing for the New York Rangers and scored a hat-trick in his first NHL game. After scoring 14 points in seven games last season, it was obvious that he was ready for prime time.

Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall from Canada finished second and third respectively in overall scoring at last years championships with a total of 25 points between them. This season, they’ve combined for 43 points as teammates with the Edmonton Oilers after the one-third mark of the NHL season. The Oilers are stocked with former World Junior stars including Andrew Cogliano, Magnus Paajarvi, Ryan Whitney, and Sam Gagner to name a few.

Fifth in scoring last season was Alex Pietrangelo, currrently shining with the St. Louis Blues. Pietrangelo, a defenseman, finished with 9 points in 6 games for the silver medal winning Canadian team. Long-touted as a future NHL All-Star, the defenseman has 17 points in 32 NHL games this season.

The only player from the top 5 of last year’s leading scorers to not play in the NHL yet? That would be Jerry D’Amigo. Currently returning to play with Team USA after playing for the Toronto Marlies, the American gold medalist should see ice-time with the Toronto Maple Leafs soon. Heaven knows they need the help.

Find many former World Junior stars in numerous products available at Canada Card World.

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WJHC – NHL Flavour

30 December 2010

Each year in late December, NHL teams have the option to send some of their young players to the World Junior Hockey Championships. Most NHL teams prefer to keep players on their roster, however, certain teams decide that it’s a good opportunity for player development, especially if the youngster needs more ice time.

This season, Edmonton and Boston decided to hang on to Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, however some other teams made players available. Los Angeles made Brayden Schenn available for Canada, the Ottawa Senators made Robin Lehner available for Sweden, and the New York Islanders made Nino Niederreiter available for Switzerland.

Each player has been key for their team in the early stages of the tournament. The experience that a player with NHL games under his belt can bring to a team is hard to measure. But the experience is vital.

Case in point, Brayden Schenn. In the first three games of the tournament, Schenn has 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points. 12 points in 3 games and a +8! No wonder Canada is 3-0 after their first three games.

Brayden Schenn, Robin Lehner, and Nino Niederreiter’s rookie cards are available in various products at Canada Card World.

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Talent is everywhere. Even on the teams which have little chance of taking the title. Richard Panik is the perfect example of a player who oozes talent but labours with one of the under-dogs.

Richard Panik was drafted in the second round, 52nd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. After being drafted in 2009, Panik attended training camp with the Lightning but was cut and sent to the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.

Panik played for the Slovak national team at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships, where he scored two goals and three assists in five games. In 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships, Panik bettered that by scoring 6 goals and adding 2 assists in 6 games for Slovakia.

Earlier this year, he played in his first senior tournament at the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championships. He didn’t score, but he had 2 assists and the best +/- on the team with +3.

Richard Panik will be featured in 2010-11 Heroes and Prospect from In The Game which is available at Canada Card World.

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If you’re under the mistaken assumption that this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship trophy will be a rematch between Canada and the USA, then you’ve never heard of Sweden’s Robin Lehner.

Drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Ottawa Senators, Lehner is the goaltender of the future for the franchise. He’s not playing  a lot in the AHL, but as a 19-year-old, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

Lehner started playing hockey relatively late at ten-years old but in only seven years he became one of the top Swedish goalies in his age group. In March 2010, Lehner signed a three-year entry level contract with the Ottawa Senators and made his NHL debut with two short relief appearances early in the 2010-11 NHL season without allowing a goal. With his debut at 19 years, 2 months and 24 days, Robin Lehner became the youngest Swedish goaltender to play in the NHL.

Robin’s father Michael Lehner coached New York Ranger superstar Henrik Lundqvist and has had a big influence on both goaltender’s playing styles. His father never played goaltender so he would often use his son as a guinea pig for training Lundqvist.

Robin Lehner’s rookie cards are available in various Panini and Upper Deck products at Canada Card World.

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WJHC – Day One

27 December 2010

Nino Niederreiter scored once and assisted on another goal during a four-goal, first-period outburst which lifted Switzerland over Germany 4-3 Sunday in the opening game at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, NY.

The New York Islanders 1st round pick, 5th overall in 2010 NHL Entry Draft, scored 9:21 into the game to make it 2-0 and then assisted on another goal 27 seconds later.

In nine NHL games this season, Niederreiter also scored a goal and an assist, a good start to a very promising career. With talented youth, such as John Tavares, Josh Bailey, and Kyle Okposo already on Long Island, the collecting future is bright… but the rewards are still a few years away.

In another opening day game, Ryan Johansen and Brayden Schenn scored power-play goals early in the third period as Canada beat Russia 6-3 at the HSBC arena.

Special teams were at the forefront as Canada went 3-for-5 with the man advantage. Canada outshot Russia 42-27 but Olivier Roy still kept the team calm and strong with timely saves.

Roy is the first player from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan to play for Canada at the WJHC. He was drafted 133rd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers but has yet to make his NHL debut. Collectors can find his cards in various In The Game products.

Check out cards for lots of young players competing in the World Junior Hockey Championships in various products available at Canada Card World.

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