The World Juniors provides a sneak peek at the next crop of potential NHL stars. Some players will enjoy great careers, while other highly-touted prospects will fail to meet the lofty expectations. Here are the top 10 NHL players to come out of the tournament that was won by Team USA 10 years ago.
The 10 Best NHL Players From the 2013 World Juniors
1 Nathan MacKinnon (Canada)
MacKinnon was just 17 years old when he donned the Maple Leaf in a tournament filled with 19-year-olds. While he picked up just one assist in six games, the Colorado Avalanche selected him first overall in 2013. He has not disappointed.
The native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia took home the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie in 2013-14, scoring 63 points in 82 games. He was then awarded the Lady Byng Trophy in 2019-20, but one item remained on his bucket list.
Last season, MacKinnon led the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup. He is approaching 700 points for his career as the Hockey Hall of Fame awaits.
2 Nikita Kucherov (Russia)
Kucherov was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the 2011 Draft and picked up eight points over seven games in 2013. It was his second appearance at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
He then lit up the QMJHL with 63 points in 33 games for the Quebec Remparts and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies before starting his pro career in the AHL.
The slick winger was called up to the Lightning during the 2013-14 season. He steadily improved before winning the Hart, Ted Lindsay and Art Ross awards in a dominant 2018-19 campaign. Then, he led the Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
3 Leon Draisaitl (Germany)
Draisaitl decided to take his talents from Germany to Prince Albert of the WHL in 2012 before suiting up for his country in 2013. He scored six points in six games in the first of his two appearances at the tournament.
He was then drafted third overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2014 and is already closing in on 700 points for his career.
The 2019-200 season has been his best thus far, earning the Hart. Ted Lindsay and Art Ross awards after scoring 110 points in just 71 games. Those numbers are even more impressive when you factor in that teammate Connor McDavid missed 18 games that season.
4 Andrei Vasilevskiy (Russia)
Kucherov’s long-time teammate in Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy was drafted 19th over by the Lightning in 2012. He posted an eye-popping .950 save percentage and 1.81 goals-against-average in four games at the 2013 event.
Generally considered the best goaltender in the NHL over the last few seasons, the 28-year-old goaltender rose to prominence by capturing the Vezina Trophy in 2018-19.
He followed that up by leading the Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2019-20 and 2020-21. Vasilevskiy, who is approaching 250 career wins, took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for his exploits in the second run.
5 Aleksander Barkov (Finland)
Barkov earned seven points in six games during his second trip to the World Juniors in 2013 and was drafted second overall by the Florida Panthers that summer.
If not for Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, the native of Tampere, Finland could very well be the NHL’s best defensive forward. He was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy in 2018-19 and followed that up with the Selke Trophy in 2020-21.
As he closes in on 600 career points, there are likely a few more awards in this 27-year-old’s future.
6 Johnny Gaudreau (USA)
Gaudreau was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He scored nine points in seven games on the way to winning the gold medal at the 2013 World Juniors.
‘Johnny Hockey’ went back to Boston College for his junior season and picked up 80 points in 40 games. That was good enough to win the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey.
His only piece of NHL hardware thus far is the Lady Byng Trophy (2016-2017). Now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he is averaging about a point per game over his nine-year NHL career.
7 Jonathan Huberdeau (Canada)
Huberdeau was drafted third overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2011 NHL Draft and had nine points in six games during his second appearance in 2013.
The 2012-13 season was an eventful one for the 19-year-old centre. He started with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, scoring 45 points in 30 games before representing Canada. Upon his return, he reported to the Panthers and scored 31 points in 48 games and won the Calder Trophy.
After a blockbuster trade over the summer, Huberdeau signed a long-term deal with the Calgary Flames. With over 700 NHL games played, the 1,000-point benchmark is within his grasp.
8 Filip Forsberg (Sweden)
Forsberg is a rare commodity, playing in three World Junior Hockey Championship events. In his second trip in 2013, he amassed five points in six games, helping Sweden earn a silver medal.
The crafty winger was drafted 11th overall by the Washington Capitals in 2012, but he was traded to the Nashville Predators before ever playing in the American capital.
He is on the verge of eclipsing the 500-point mark for his career.
9 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Canada)
Nugent-Hopkins was the star for Team Canada at the 2013 World Juniors, leading the tournament in scoring with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in just six games.
The Burnaby, BC native was drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2011 and played one season in the Alberta capital before being released to represent Canada.
His NHL career took off upon his return as he became a steady 50 to 60-point producer. This season, he is averaging better than a point per game as he closes in on 600 career points.
10 Elias Lindholm (Sweden)
An 18-year-old Lindholm had four points in six games, helping Sweden earn the silver medal at the 2013 tournament.
He was drafted fifth overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2013 but returned to play in the 2014 World Juniors.
After five steady, if not spectacular seasons with the Hurricanes, he was traded to the Calgary Flames, where he has blossomed into the first-line centre he was projected to be in Carolina.
By the end of this season, he should surpass the 500-point plateau for his career.
While these are the 10 best NHL players who participated in the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship, many others have enjoyed successful careers at the next level. Those include, in no particular order: D Dougie Hamilton, D Morgan Rielly, F Mark Scheifele (CAN), F Tomas Hertl, F Teuvo Teravainen (FIN), F Valeri Nichushkin (RUS), F Viktor Arvidsson, F William Karlsson, F Rickard Rakell, F Alexander Wennberg (SWE), G John Gibson, D Seth Jones, F J.T. Miller and F Vincent Trocheck (USA).
And then there are some players from whom much was expected but fell short, including F Markus Granlund (FIN), F Mikhail Grigorenko, F Nail Yakupov (RUS) and Marko Dano (SVK).