New York Rangers Prospects continue Gold Medal streak at the World Junior Championships
On Friday afternoon in Gothenburg, Sweden, Team USA finished the 2024 World Junior Championships as the only undefeated team, destroying the host country, Sweden, 6-2 in the Gold Medal Game to capture their sixth championship at the annual tournament.
This year, one of Team USA’s best skaters and top-line wingers, Gabe Perreault, finished with 10 points in seven games, winning a Gold Medal less than one year after the New York Rangers drafted him as the 23rd overall pick at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
Besides Perreault, there was another Rangers prospect in the Gold Medal-winning lineup, Drew Fortescue, a third-round pick (90th overall) also from the 2023 Entry Draft. Interestingly, these two skaters continued a streak, one unbeknownst to the average fan, which is a Rangers-drafted player who has won the Gold Medal at the event for the fifth straight year.
New York Rangers Prospects Collecting Gold Medals at WJC
When Team Canada won their 19th championship over Russia in the Czech Republic in 2020, former first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere was on that team, finishing second in scoring with 10 points in five games behind Barrett Hayton. Eventually, six months later, in the middle of the pandemic, the Rangers drafted him as the top pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. So far in his NHL career, with no time spent in the minors, Lafreniere has 114 points in 253 games.
In the following year’s tournament in “The Bubble” in Edmonton, Team USA edged out the Canadians on their home soil, with Brett Berard in the lineup. By the time the tournament started in December 2020, Berard was already a prospect with New York, joining the franchise as a fifth-round pick (134th) in the 2020 Entry Draft and tallied five points in seven games at that year’s event.
Even though he returned to Team USA for the 2021 event, he only registered one point in five games. Despite two productive years at Providence College, he’s skated 32 games with the Hartford Wolf Park over the past two seasons and has not earned an NHL call-up yet.
Meanwhile, at the 2022 tournament, the Rangers were well-represented when Canada beat Finland in overtime to capture their 19th Gold Medal. That year, three prospects were in the lineup: Brennan Othmann, who recently made his NHL debut; Will Cuylle, who also debuted last season; and goalie Dylan Garand.
As the starter, Garand led the team to the title with a 6-0-0 record, posting a 1.98 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. Meanwhile, Othmann, in his first tournament, posted six points in six games to finish 10th in team scoring, beating out Cuylle, who had just four points in seven games but led the team with 25 penalty minutes.
When Canada captured the Gold Medal again in 2023 while hosting in Halifax, Othmann was the only prospect still on the team and finished the tournament with another six points in seven games. Furthermore, his back-to-back championships pushed the Rangers streak to four straight tournaments, with a prospect capturing a Gold Medal.
In 2024, Team USA was the pre-tournament favorite, and they didn’t disappoint by going undefeated and humiliating most of their opponents by scoring 45 goals in seven games. As mentioned, Perreault was one of the tournament’s stars, finishing with 10 points, just two behind Cutter Gauthier, who won the Best Forward Award.
Thanks to this most recent win by Team USA, the Rangers have now had at least one prospect win a Gold Medal at the World Junior Championships in five consecutive seasons. So, if any Blueshirts fans are concerned about the team’s prospects, these young skates, who are now playing in the minors and making their NHL debuts, are proving that New York is finally drafting future stars and that the future on Broadway is bright.