This article is part of our Prospects Analysis series.
The greatest hockey tournament in the world [Well, except perhaps for the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Olympics – Ed.], the IIHF World Junior Championship, begins Dec. 26 in Montreal and Toronto. Get ready to follow the first post-Christmas hockey action with our annual preview.
Note: The parenthetical numbers next to some players' names correspond to their ranking in our recently updated Top 100 NHL prospects list.
Overview: Team USA has countless offensive weapons at their disposal and they figure to get decent goaltending, but they could struggle on the back end. They have the personnel to outscore other teams, which could very well become a necessity as the tournament progresses.
Goalies: Team USA is expected to bring three goaltenders to the tournament: the Flames' Tyler Parsons (85), Toronto's Joseph Woll, and Jake Oettinger (who is expected to be a first-round pick in 2017); all three seem to have a realistic chance of earning the starting position. Oettinger (1.87 GAA, .932 save percentage in 15 games for Boston University) is having the best season of the trio, but would the United States really put its tournament life in the hands of a kid who turned 18 years old just last week? My gut says that Parsons will get the first crack at the No. 1 gig, but it remains no sure thing.
Defense: The thing that stands out among the United States defensive corps is its lack of size. The Americans don't have a single defenseman over