One name that is quickly gaining a lot of steam in hockey circles, and for good reason, is defenceman Seth Jones.
Despite being only 18 years old, there's a lot to like about Jones: 6'4" frame, raw athleticism, smooth mobility, crisp hockey sense, pro sports bloodlines (son of former NBA player Popeye Jones). There's so much to like about Jones that it's making him a leading contender in the race for the 1st overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
On early Thursday morning the native of Plano, Texas will make his highly-anticipated World Junior Hockey Championship debut with the rest of America's best under-20 hockey players as Team USA opens their tournament versus Germany.
The Americans are one of the favorites at this year's tournament thanks to depth, a nice blend of size and skill, and having a handful of recent high draft picks such as Alex Galchenyuk, J.T. Miller, Tyler Biggs, Jacob Trouba and others. Jones himself even stated recently that he considers the US to be the best team overall.
The Germans started their tournament off on rocky ground, losing to Team Canada 9-3. Germany features some talent up front with forwards like Tobias Rieder and Leon Draisaitl, but doesn't share the same depth that other teams in tournament can afford. They will likely be in tough against the US, especially after allowing so many goals just earlier today.
The game takes place at 8:00 a.m. Central and can be seen on NHL Network-US.
The only other game on the schedule for Thursday is Switzerland versus Latvia. The Swiss have done well in recent years, finishing 4th in the tournament in 2010 and 5th in 2011, but dropped down to 8th last year. Like the Germans, the Swiss have some skilled offensive weapons up front, but are longshots for medal contention due to overall depth. Latvia however, despite losing 5-1 to Finland on opening night, should still provide the Swiss with some adequate competition.
For a great recap of Day 1 of the WJCs, check out Huw Wales' article from earlier today.