Top Prospects Take an Unconventional Path to the World Juniors

But even with ideas and help from N.H.L. superstars, Brisson was a late bloomer. Thanks to a long-awaited development spurt and a lift in confidence, his recreation got here collectively in the 2018-19 season, when he led Shattuck-St. Mary’s under-18 workforce with 101 factors in 55 video games. That set the stage for his being chosen in the first spherical by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2020 N.H.L. draft, two weeks earlier than his 19th birthday.

“When we would first play out in Cali, he was just an average player,” mentioned York, who performed towards Brisson at the youth degree. “He’s come so far in such a short amount of time.”

Two different Californians are additionally on this yr’s U.S. roster — defenseman Ryan Johnson, a first-round decide of the Buffalo Sabres in 2019, and goaltender Dustin Wolf, a Calgary Flames 2019 choice.

The present era has benefited enormously from top-level N.H.L. gamers who stayed in California in retirement. With the Junior Ducks, York and Johnson have been coached by Johnson’s father, Craig, who performed 10 years in the N.H.L., in addition to the Hall of Fame defenseman and three-time Cup-winner Scott Niedermayer.

On the Junior Kings, Brisson and Wolf have been coached by the Los Angeles Kings’ present basic supervisor, Rob Blake, additionally a Hall of Famer and Cup champion, and their present director of participant personnel, Nelson Emerson, a veteran of 771 N.H.L. video games.

After a disappointing world juniors debut in 2020, when Team U.S.A. was shut out by Finland in the quarterfinals, York has shone this time round. He was second in scoring amongst defensemen with six factors in 5 video games heading right into a semifinal towards Finland. Playing down the lineup, Brisson has two targets in 5 video games.

“We all grow up watching this tournament,” Brisson mentioned. “As a young kid, you follow all those individual players. Now I’m one of those individual players that a kid is looking up to. It could be in Iowa, could be in Chicago — could be around the United States or even North America. It’s way bigger than a tournament.”

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