Discussion

Seth Jones and other U-18 standouts

Updated: April 24, 2012, 12:03 PM ET
By Grant Sonier

BRNO, Czech Republic -- Any time the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) holds a major event, there are a few consistencies. It usually means a group of top players have assembled, and it most certainly means the 30 NHL teams will have a plethora of representatives in attendance.

The 2012 World U-18 Championships -- being held in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic -- is no different. A plethora of NHL scouts, general managers and assistant GMs have assembled to get their final looks at some of the top prospects for this June's NHL draft. But their assesments won't stop there.

This year offers an even bigger bang for the scouting buck than usual, as the 10 participating teams have a number of top underage players who will almost certainly be featured in this event next year in Sochi, Russia -- as well as future drafts.

Here is a snapshot of some of the great young talents who will be much talked about for the 2013 NHL draft and are easily projected to be first-round selections. One omission: Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL was unavailable for this event because his junior team is still in the playoffs. MacKinnon is widely considered the best prospect for the 2013 draft, but he could face competition from the first guy on this list.

MORE NHL HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM