Every team in the tournament votes for their own best three players. From the outside looking in, we tend to look at things like “boxcars” (goals, assists, points), but that doesn’t give the true value of a player to a team. They know which guys were most consistent within the team system, rallied the team when it was most needed, and did the little things basically only coaches and scouts care about. So, these should hold some merit. Here are the three best players on every team in the World Juniors, as voted by their teams:
(Click twice enlarge, clarify)
My personal top three for the tournament:
3. John Gaudreau
2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
1. John Gibson
Kind of a no-brainer list this year.
Gibson was an absolute rock for the US. At no point in any game did you get the impression that any clean shot could beat him. He was composed, poised, and ready to answer all challenges. If I’m not making this clear enough, I was supremely impressed.
The US defense looked great – particularly Jacob Trouba, Jake McCabe and Seth Jones (I actually like Gostisbehere too), and a lot of the reason for that is the confidence that they had in their goaltender freed them up to play without fear. It’s not like they didn’t give up chances, they just got bailed out when they did. It’s a real treat knowing you’ve got a guy like that behind you.
Either way, Gibson was the runaway tournament MVP. The Anaheim Ducks drafted him, and man-oh-man, they must be licking their bills after watching him earn gold in the World Juniors.