You may have heard that four Colorado Avalanche prospects were busy over the holiday season participating in the just concluded World Junior Championship. The Americans held on for a 2-0 victory to earn the gold medal over team Canada in a battle of a game. Each prospect played well and contributed to their respective teams thus earning a medal.
Bowen Byram was the acting co-captain after Kirby Dach had to depart with injury before the tournament kicked off. Byram was tasked with tearfully handing out silver medals to his teammates at the end but racked up a few accolades along the way. He was named player of the game for Canada in the quarter-final win against the Czech Republic and again in the finale loss to USA.
Byram was also chosen as one of the three best players on team Canada and on to the media all-star team as one of the two best defensemen in the tournament. He played a massive role as the number one defenseman averaging 23 minutes in his seven games with a +13 and five points including his fade away shot for a goal seen below. There was no area of the game and on the ice Byram did not contribute from jumping into the offense, creating chances, transition defense, physicality along the boards and of course leadership. This should conclude Byram’s junior career with an impressive effort all around.
Alex Newhook was the hero in the semi-final against Russia registering this goal seen below to open the scoring against Russia in an eventual 5-0 win. He missed the quarter-final match with a shoulder injury but was able to score six points in six games in king three goals. Newhook was tasked with the second line center job and provided a spark and quickness in his game to jump start his teammates.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 4, 2021
Justin Barron was a solid steady third pairing defender for team Canada. Nothing fancy to his game but generally got the job done. He registered two points in their opening game against Germany as seen below but kept getting his shot through traffic in the other games. Transition defense is a strength for Barron but needs to work on static defensive zone coverage.
The hits keep on coming. Philip Tomasino (@PredsNHL) sends the knuckle-puck on goal for Canada's 9th of the game.
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) December 27, 2020
Drew Helleson is the lone 2021 champion of the four as one of the defenseman for team USA. He worked to earn a bigger role from a depth position to start but was one of the key cogs on the back end by the gold medal game and played just over 19 minutes when it really counted. An assist in the gold medal game brought his total to four with two goals, one seen below which certainly surprised the Swedish goaltender. A smart and steady game is a Helleson hallmark but USA afforded him the opportunity to play more aggressive in this format