Canada won their first gold medal since 2009, Slovakia medaled for the first time since 1999. Russia earned silver, and beat the US in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. There were some outstanding singular game performances, and some players showed that they really belonged on the top stage. Here are some of the best:
Dylan Larkin (USA: 5 Goals, 2 Assists, +7):
The University of Michigan frosh, and the first-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings led the USA in points and goals. All of this coming on playing on the third line with Sonny Milano. He scored twice against the Germans, and also against Canada. He showed his amazing vision, hand skills, and speed. He is one of the top freshman in all of college hockey, and he showed that he might be a leader of the Red, White, and Blue next year.
Curtis Lazar (Canada: 5 Goals, 4 Assists, +9):
It must be tough being named of the Canada team, and also when the tournament is on your home soil. He won 70% of the faceoffs and showed a great leadership of a team that knew they were the best, and showed the world that they were.
Ivan Barbashev (Russia: 3 goals, 3 assists):
He led his team with in scoring, and even won 53% of his faceoffs. There was a time where Russia looked out of sorts, but he was the most consistent player for his team. He looks like he will eventually fit in with a countryman, Vladmir Tarasenko, on the St. Louis Blues.
Sam Reinhart (Canada: 5 Goals, 6 Assists, +13): MY MVP
He led the entire tournament with a +13 rating. Craig Button said of the Sabres product, “He beats you with his mind.” He centered Canada’s top line, and qb’d an amazing Canada Hockey attack. He also scored the game winner against Russia, and was voted the top forward by his own coaching staff.
Gustav Forsling (Sweden: 3 Goals, 5 Assists):
He led the entire tournament in defensive scoring, with three goals and five assists. He was on the ice for nearly everything, and was counted on by his coach to do nearly everything. Expect to see him in a Vancouver uniform shortly.
Joshua Morrissey (Canada: 1 Goal, 3 Assists, +9 Rating):
Darnell Nurse may have been voted the best defenseman by his team, but Morrissey looked the part of the QB of the defense. He would use the body and he was the one player that you could look at he showed exactly what Canada wanted to do tempo-wise.
Denis Godla (Slovakia: 4 wins, 2.76 Goals Against Average, 0.925 Save Percentage):
He faced the most shots of anyone in the tournament (242). He also made the most saves of anyone (224). Zachary Fuchale might have been the goalie that led his team to the Gold, but Golda helped backstop the biggest surprise of the tournament. He is eligible for this upcoming draft, and someone will take him.
Conor McDavid (Canada)
Darnell Nurse (Canada)
Zachary Fucale (Canada)
Zach Werenski (USA)