If you read Tony Notarianni’s piece yesterday about possible Toronto Maple Leaf prospects playing at the World Junior Hockey Championship, then it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Tyler Biggs and Garret Sparks were named to the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team Preliminary Roster today.
Sparks is slowly becoming a nice find deep in the 2011 NHL Draft. He was taken 190th overall in the seventh round and has been steadily improving over the past three seasons with the Guelph Storm of the OHL. In Sparks’ first year with the Storm he finished the campaign with a 3.64 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. Last season those numbers increased to 3.11 and .907, and in 2012-13 he currently is sporting a 2.91 GAA with a .916 SP.
Biggs is probably a lot more well known to Leaf fans as he was taken in the same draft as Sparks, but in the first round at 22nd overall. Biggs has 31 points in just 30 games this season for the Oshawa Generals, and at 6-3 and 224 lbs, his coach DJ Smith has compared him to Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area you should head over to Oshawa to check out Biggs in action at some point this season. You won’t be disappointed. He should make the U.S. squad easily.
The WJHC is always a great time to learn about prospects from your favorite team and how they are progressing with their development. Thanks to the lockout, this year’s tournament promises to be more of a focal point with the lack of NHL action. Even if you may have to get up at 4am Eastern Time to watch a lot of the games. Or depending on your preference, possibly stay up until 4am. Either way there figures to be a lot of Canadians with a screwed up internal body clock during this holiday season.