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Taking Stock of World Junior Stars

Jan 8, 2010 – 11:00 AM
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Bruce Ciskie

Bruce Ciskie %BloggerTitle%

For many of the young players who took part in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships, there was more on the line than a gold medal.

While guys like Jordan Schroeder (NHL rights: Vancouver), Derek Stepan (N.Y. Rangers), and Jerry D'Amigo (Toronto) didn't have to worry about their NHL draft stock, other players in the tournament -- like Canada's highly-touted Taylor Hall -- did. How did they do?

More importantly for NHL fans, how did Schroeder, Stepan, D'Amigo, and the scores of other already-drafted players perform? Are some of these highly-touted prospects closer to making it to the NHL?

Drafted Players

Jordan Schroeder, United States: This was the third World Juniors appearance for Schroeder, who passed Jeremy Roenick for first place on the all-time list of American scorers in the tournament. He scored some huge goals for his team, but potentially more important was his presence on the American penalty kill. Often branded by observers as a cocky player who doesn't work hard, Team USA coach Dean Blais was able to get Schroeder to play in both ends of the rink. Because of this, his stock has definitely gone up.

Jerry D'Amigo, United States: It's possible that no single player did more to help his stock than D'Amigo. An experienced player in USA programs, D'Amigo caught fire during the World Juniors, scoring a slew of big goals and playing like the highly-skilled forward he is. His performance in the World Juniors is likely to drive D'Amigo's stock up in the Maple Leafs organization.

Jordan Eberle (Edmonton), Canada: Eberle can't conceivably do more to help himself than he already has. The 2008 first-rounder was cut before the NHL season started, but there's no reason to think Edmonton is going to leave him off the NHL roster for much longer. Look at the way Eberle played in this tournament, and it's hard to argue his stock went anywhere but up.

Jakob Markstrom (Florida), Sweden; and Jake Allen (St. Louis), Canada: Both goalies had their moments during the tournament. However, Allen's second crack at the United States -- the gold-medal game -- brought a cavalcade of soft goals, while Markstrom was hardly impressive in the semifinal loss to the same U.S. team. No one is going to say it's fair to judge a teenage goalie by his performance in such pressure-packed games. That said, it's hard to imagine their stock going anywhere but down, if only temporarily so.

Magnus Paajarvi Svensson (Edmonton), Sweden: A lot of attention was put on the Oilers' 2009 first-rounder heading into the tournament. He did all right, even though his team didn't get as far as expected. Paajarvi Svensson was a plus player on both ends of the ice, tallying 10 points in six games while showing flashes of being a responsible two-way player. Given the hype he got before the tournament, it's likely that his stock went down a little bit, but nothing catastrophic.

Kirill Petrov (N.Y. Islanders), Russia: While the Russians shocked many with their quarterfinal loss to Switzerland, Petrov had a good week. He was a factor offensively for Russia, and he showed some of the flashes that made the Islanders smart to pick him in the third round of the 2008 draft. He still looks a bit frail, but as he adds bulk, his skills won't erode. He helped himself in Saskatchewan, and his stock has to be up, if only slightly.

Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis), Canada: There's good and bad for Pietrangelo, but he generally gets a miss here. He had his moments, but when his country needed him most, Pietrangelo had a subpar game. In the gold-medal match, he was stranded in the penalty box for the first half of the second period, the result of an undisciplined -- borderline dirty -- penalty he took late in the first. Then, in overtime, he was way too far up the ice for an odd-man rush, leaving Canada to defend a three-on-one that led to the game-winning goal. Pietrangelo racked up some serious numbers against bad teams, but he also showed his tremendous offensive upside. Despite that upside, it's arguable that his stock is down slightly after the tournament.

Draft Eligible Players

Taylor Hall, Canada: There are two sides to this story. On one hand, Hall entered the tournament as the projected top pick, and he played very well. He gained an edge over Tyler Seguin -- a player some people think will pass Hall and be the first overall pick -- simply by making the Canadian team (Seguin was cut). However, Hall did not elevate his game against Team USA. Instead, he seemed to struggle against their physical play. It was good that Hall showed a willingness to share the puck and set up teammates. His stock is likely down, however, because of his performance in the big games, which was not as good as expected.

Cam Fowler, United States: Hall's teammate on the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, Fowler and John Carlson (Washington) were Team USA's best and most consistent defensemen in the tournament. While he wasn't a big factor in the offense, Fowler showed the ability to be a top shutdown defenseman, and he's a really good passer. Already considered a strong top-five pick in next summer's draft, it's still reasonable to suggest that his stock went up with his performance in Saskatoon.

Nino Niederreiter, Switzerland: Not a highly-regarded prospect before the tournament, Niederreiter showed up big-time for the underdog Swiss. He scored twice in their quarterfinal win over Russia, including the overtime game-winner. Neiderreiter smartly moved to Canada to play major junior hockey this year, and it appears that and his World Juniors performance will pay off. His stock is absolutely up after a big tournament. You could argue that he's played himself into high first-round range in the draft.

Jack Campbell, United States: Before the tournament, Campbell was looking at being a first-round pick in the draft. Now that he has played this well on the big stage, Campbell is almost a lock for the first round. He was a bit shaky late in the first meeting with Canada, but he came off the bench Tuesday to bail out his country big-time, as starter Mike Lee coughed up three goals on just seven shots. With the way he helped his boys win the gold, Campbell's stock shot up, and will likely continue to do so.
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