The 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey championship wrapped up on Monday. Here’s a look at how the Leafs prospects fared.
Gold – Frederik Gauthier – Centre
The Maple Leafs top pick in the 2013 had a helping hand in getting Canada’s first gold medal in the tournament since 2009. Gauthier was leaned on for his ability to win faceoffs and he delivered, winning 12 of 21 on Monday. Russia mounted quite the comeback in the second period but Gauthier helped shut the door on the Russians with his two-way play.
Gauthier finished the tournament with one assist.
Silver – Rinat Valiev – Defenceman
An excellent display from the Kootenay Ice defenceman. With Russia having their struggles early in the tournament, Valiev was relied on heavily for his ability to keep the puck away from Russia’s zone. He also brought a physical presence that became the identity of the Russian squad. Valiev will fit in well with what the Leafs are trying to establish moving forward.
Valiev finished with three assists in seven games.
4th place – William Nylander – Sweden
The Leafs top draft choice in 2014 certainly displayed his skill in Toronto. He dazzled with his ability to deke, set up players for points and played well at the point position on the power play. Nylander finished the tournament with three goals and seven assists. His ten points put him fifth in tournament scoring, behind four Canadians.
The emphasis going forward will be his two-way game as his ability to score is clear. The two-way game needs a little bit of work but there is plenty of time for that.