Team Canada will go into the 2013 World Junior Championships as the favorites to capture Gold for the first time since the exciting 2009 tournament held in Ottawa.
Travelling to Ufa, Russia, 23 talented junior players wearing the red and white Maple Leaf will face off against the best from other countries, and for the first time since 2005, Canada will have all eligible hands on deck due to the NHL lockout.
Whether this version of Team Canada will be as dominant as that 2005 edition remains to be seen, but the depth of the Canadian roster this time around should have them on top of the world fairly handily.
The US and Russia will have top-end talent, but their depth cannot compete with Canada’s. Defending champion Sweden was dealt a couple of blows before the tournament began with injuries and the Ottawa Senators decision to keep Mika Zibanejad in Binghamton.
Those four clubs should be the top 4 when all is said and done, but there is always surprises in this tournament. Over the next few days I will preview each team, highlighting top players to watch and potential for surprises.