Top 3 Toronto Maple Leafs World Junior Performances Of All Time
Although it is painful as a Leafs fan, Justin Pogge’s 2006 World Junior Championship performance is by far the best by any Leafs drafted player.
Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round, 90th overall in 2004, Pogge was seen as one of the top goaltending prospects following this tournament.
The Canadian junior team went into the tournament lacking a legitimate star player. Although they had first round talents like Steve Downie, Luc Bourdon, and third overall pick Cam Barker, they didn’t have a player on the same level as USA’s Phil Kessel or Russia’s Evgeni Malkin.
At the end of the tournament only one player, Blake Comeau, was above point-per-game with seven points in six games. Nevertheless, they captured a gold medal. This is in large part due to the stellar play of netminder Justin Pogge.
Pogge played in all six games for the Canadian team, boasting a perfect 6-0-0 record with a 1.00 goals-against-average (GAA) and .952% save percentage (SV%). This included a 5-0 shutout win against Russia in the gold medal game, one of three shutouts Pogge had throughout the tournament.
His dominant performance at the World Juniors and in the WHL unfortunately never translated to success at the NHL level.
It goes to show that although there is a lot of hype surrounding the tournament and the players competing, success at the World Juniors is such a small sample and cannot be taken as a main indicator of a player’s future performance.