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December 27, 2015

Top Ten Players in World Junior Hockey History


Quite arguably the best hockey we will see this winter will not be in the NHL but at the World Junior Hockey Championships. In fact, outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there is no more anticipated annual tournament in the hockey world.

Let's take a look back at some of the all-time greatest performances in World Junior hockey history:

1. Peter Forsberg, Sweden - In 1993 Forsberg put up a mindboggling 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in seven games, setting a tournament record that may last for a long, long time. Playing on a line with Markus Naslund and Niklas Sundstrom, Forsberg set single game records with seven assists and ten points in a 20-1 drubbing over lowly Japan.

Forsberg scored 11 points in seven games at the 1992 tournament. The combined 32 assists and 42 points are also all time WJC records.

2. Jordan Eberle, Canada - Speaking of clutch, how about Jordan Eberle in 2009. Against all odds Eberle scores with just five seconds left in the semi-final game vs. the arch rivals from Russia. Then he scored again in the shootout. Canada would go on to win gold.

Eberle returned in 2010. Though Canada would lose the gold medal game, Eberle cemented his status as arguably the greatest Canadian player in WJC history. He scored twice in the final three minutes to force overtime against the Americans. He almost scored in overtime, too.

He was named as tournament MVP and Best Forward. He scored a point in each and every of his 12 career games. His 26 points ties him (with Brayden Schenn) for second most points by a Canadian in WJC history.

3. Wayne Gretzky, Canada - The Great One only played in one World Junior tournament, and he did so, amazingly, as a 16 year old. Gretzky scores 17 points while being named as the Best Forward in the 1978 tournament.

4. Pavel Bure, Russia - The Russian Rocket is the World Juniors all time leading goal scorer with 27 tallies spread over three tournaments totalling 21 games. That included 12 goals

5. Jonathan Toews, Canada - Jonathan Toews shootout theatrics in 2007 will forever go down in hockey lore. Toews scores three times in the shootout in a 2-1 semi-final victory over USA and goaltender Jeff Frazee. Canada would go on to win gold, his second tournament championship in as many years. Toews would be named to the tournament all star team.

6. Vladimir Ruzicka, Czech Republic - "Rosie" ranks second behind Bure in all time goals scored with 25 goals in 19 games over three tourneys. He would win back-to-back silver medals in 1982 and 1983.

7. Robert Reichal, Czech Republic - In 1990 Reichal capped his third stint at the World Juniors with his second consecutive bronze medal, a Best Forward award, a tournament best 21 points (including 11 goals) in just 7 games, and a new tournament career scoring record with 40 points (since surpassed by Forsberg).

8. Eric Lindros, Canada - Canada's all time leading scorer at the WJC is Eric Lindros. The Big E scored 31 career points in a total of three tourneys. 1991 and 1992 gold medal champion.

9. Markus Naslund, Sweden - Riding shotgun with Peter Forsberg in 1993 certainly did not hurt this future NHL sniper. Naslund set a tournament record with 13 goals in 7 games. He had 8 more the previous tourney, placing him third all time among WJC goal scorers with 21.

10. Vladimir Krutov, Russia - dominating performance in 1979. Vladimir Krutov may be the most underrated of Soviet greats. There are many. 

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