Wild West: World Juniors Revisited – Part One

Grant Campbell

2020-12-21

I had written two articles (here and here) in March 2020 looking at the players that I considered the core three for each of the Western teams. I thought it would be interesting to look back at each of these players and see how they did during the World Junior Championships or if they even played in them and maybe gauge the importance of the tournament in these players’ development. In reading back my articles, things have changed in Minnesota with Kirill Kaprizov coming over and in St. Louis and Vegas with Alex Pietrangelo signing.

Anaheim

Cam Fowler (USA) – Fowler played in the 2010 tournament and had two assists in seven games when the USA won gold with the thrilling 6-5 overtime victory over Canada when John Carlson broke the hearts of the Canadians. Other defensemen on that gold-winning team were Matt Donovan, John Ramage, Jake Gardiner, Brian Lashoff and David Warsofsky. Fowler went on to win the Memorial Cup that year with the Windsor Spitfires along with teammates Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique and Philipp Grubauer, so it was quite a year for him.

Trevor Zegras (USA) – Zegras played in the 2020 tournament and led his country in scoring with nine assists in five games before the USA was eliminated by Finland in the quarter-finals. Other top scorers that year for the USA were Shane Pinto, Arthur Kaliyev, Nick Robertson and Oliver Wahlstrom. Zegras will return in 2021 which is a scary thought for the opposition.

John Gibson (USA) – Gibson saw two tournaments, first in 2012 where he played one game backing up Jack Campbell where the USA didn't even make it to the quarterfinals. 2013 saw an entirely different result as the USA won gold with Gibson backstopping them over seven games with a 1.36 GAA and a 95.5 save percentage. Top scorers for the USA that year were Johnny Gaudreau, Jacob Trouba, J.T. Miller, Alex Galchenyuk and Seth Jones.

Arizona

Clayton Keller (USA) – Keller played in the 2017 tournament and led his country in scoring with three goals and eight assists in seven games, where the USA beat Canada 5-4 in a shootout in the final to win the gold medal. Interesting to note that the leading goal-scorer that year was Kirill Kaprizov with nine goals in seven games. Other top scorers from the USA roster that yea