A look to the future! Erik Gudbranson made a big impression at the World Junior Championship. Photo Source: Zimbio.com

In Case You Missed It: Cats At World Juniors

If you weren’t paying attention to anything other than NHL hockey, the World Junior Championships finished up in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday. Russia took home the gold medal in dramatic fashion by overcoming a 3-0 deficit to Team Canada with a five goal, third period flurry to win 5-3. Team USA from its disappointing semifinal drubbing to Canada to defeat Sweden 4-2 to bring back a bronze.

What you may or may not have known (although, I’m guessing many did) was that the Florida Panthers were well represented with five participants spread over three nations. Below are those five and how they fared:

Erik Gudbranson (Canada) – 3 goals, 2 assists, plus 8 rating

Quinton Howden (Canada) – 2 goals, 3 assists, plus 6 rating

Nick Bjugstad (USA) – 2 goals, 2 assists, plus 2 rating

Drew Shore (USA) – 2 goals, 0 assists, plus 2 rating

Joonas Donskoi (Finland) – 3 goals, 3 assists, plus 6 rating

Of the five mentioned above, four of them were drafted by Dale Tallon in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, a great sign of hope after the past three games for the big Cats.

Of note, both of Bjugstad’s goals ended up as game winners. He opened the tournament for the US with an overtime slapper from the point and his goal in the consolation match gave the US a 3-2 lead. He showed a knack for playing at the net, which will certainly make us all (especially Rat Packer Frank Rekas) giddy. Drew Shore had maybe the goal of tournament against Slovakia. The only footage I could find of it is here in a montage of US highlights. Think Jordan Eberle’s first NHL goal against Calgary this season.

As you can see from the photo above, Gudbranson was doing what we can’t wait to see him do in a Panther uniform! He also added a few strong slap shots from the point for goals, which is also something Panther fans can’t wait to see him do (the sooner, the better, the PP needs help!). I didn’t see too much of Howden and Donskoi, although I sadly saw Howden’s tip in against the US give Canada their second goal in the semis.

If anything, this should give Cats fans a little bit of hope for the future. And it goes a long way in showing Tallon as the right guy to rebuild this franchise. No prospect is certain to become full time NHLers, but there is comfort in knowing that these guys are well thought of enough to play in these championships.

Thanks for reading! Any and all comments are appreciated!

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Tags: Dale Tallon Drew Shore Erik Gudbranson Finland Joonas Donskoi Jordan Eberle Nick Bjugstad Quinton Howden Team Canada Team USA

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