The World Junior Hockey Championships are underway in 2020 and we can look back at a decade of tournaments ending in 2019. I’d like to focus on the IIHF top forward and top defenceman of each tournament over the decade and see how those players have fared.
Champion – United States over Canada 6-5 OT
Top defenceman – Alex Pietrangelo – Canada
Top forward – Jordan Eberle – Canada
Both Pietrangelo and Eberle prospered early after the World Juniors, and played full seasons in the NHL in 2010-2011 as 20-year olds. Pietrangelo played 79 games and had 43 points with St. Louis and Eberle had 43 points in 69 games with Edmonton in their rookie years. This year was the year that John Carlson scored in overtime of the final to beat Canada 6-5 and break the hearts of a nation. All three of these players are still in the NHL and both Carlson and Pietrangelo are having excellent seasons in 2019-2020, while Eberle having peaked at 76 points in 2011-2012 might never see 60 points again. I think both Carlson and Pietrangelo have had careers that they have met or exceeded expectations while Eberle has probably under-performed, other than early on.
Champion – Russia over Canada 5-3
Top defenceman – Ryan Ellis – Canada
Top forward – Brayden Schenn – Canada
Russia beat Canada in the final 5-3 after entering the 3rd period down 3-0. Artemi Panarin had two of those goals, as well as Vladimir Tarasenko. It would take Panarin another five years to reach the NHL, and Tarasenko two. Both Ellis and Schenn scored in a losing cause in the final and as fate would have it Schenn and Tarasenko have been team mates for years on St. Louis. Ellis took a few seasons to find a full-time spot in Nashville and is currently on a 64-point pace while averaging almost 24 minutes per game. Schenn as a 5th overall p