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CMJ U18: Gavin McKenna already eclipses records two years before his draft
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
The World Junior Under-18 Championship came to an end on Sunday afternoon, with Canada winning the grand final against the USA.

On the Canadian side, several names were under the microscope at this tournament.

Scott Wheeler drew up a portrait of the tournament’s top prospects with a view to the upcoming draft.

Tij Iginla was part of the Canadian team, as was captain Porter Martone, who was also part of the 2023 edition.

Martone scored six points last year, but this time he had a field day. He collected no less than 17 points in total to break the Canadian record for career points in the tournament.

He also broke the Canadian record for most career assists, as well as the number of assists in a single tournament for a Canadian.

Connor Bedard (23 points in 11 games) had the last record, but he did it in three fewer games than Martone.

In addition to these fine young Canadian hockey players, all eyes were on the phenomenon Gavin McKenna.

McKenna confirmed at this tournament why he was already considered the best prospect of the 2026 crop.

In seven games at the U18 World Junior Championship, McKenna scored a total of 20 points.

These 20 points set a Canadian record for the most in a single tournament.

He was just one point away from equalling the record set by Nikita Kucherov in his draft year, being two years older.

In the end, 17-year-old American James Hagens broke Kucherov’s record with an incredible 22 points.

(Credit: QuantHockey)
Hagens is currently considered the best prospect of the 2025 crop.

What McKenna has achieved in this tournament at such a young age is unprecedented.

By comparison, Connor Bedard, two years before he was drafted, had seven goals and seven assists in seven games.

McKenna had three more goals and three more assists than Bedard at the same age.

McKenna’s 16-year-old average of 2.86 points per game is the second-highest points-per-game average of his career at this U18 tournament.

Kucherov, with 21 points in seven games, is first in career points (exactly 3 points per game).

McKenna will have at least one more appearance at the CMJ U18 next year, and we can expect him to be even more dominant, as difficult as that may seem.

James Hagens, meanwhile, will be 18 next year, which means he will no longer be eligible to take part, having scored 27 points in 14 games in two different years.

The absolute career record for this tournament is held by the excellent Jack Hughes, who has 32 points, including 14 goals, in 14 games.

(Credit: QuantHockey)

Barring a surprise elimination of Canada at the start of the tournament, I don’t see how McKenna won’t break Hughes’ record.

American and Lane Hutson’s younger brother, Cole Hutson, also had a terrific tournament.

His 13 points this year, along with his 12 points last year, put him alone at the top of the scoring list among defensemen at the U18 WJC.

Cole Hutson is seen as a late first-round prospect this year, but could slip to the second round due to his small stature.

To find out more about Cole Hutson, as well as other very interesting prospects, I suggest you read my colleague Tony Patoine’s article:

While we’re on the subject of Americans, we can’t overlook the American team’s elite marksman: Cole Eiserman.

Eiserman tied Cole Caufield’s record for most goals scored with the U.S. development program.

The top maverick in the upcoming draft collected nine goals in seven games in the tournament.

Paired with his nine goals from last season, all his registered nets tie him for second all-time… with Caufield, again.

The two Americans have registered 18 goals in 14 games in the CMJ U18, but they’re still a long way from Alexander Ovechkin’s 23 goals :

(Credit: QuantHockey)

Well done to those who noticed Andrei Kostitsyn’s name in the last two charts on QuantHockey, which is an excellent site for leaders of any category. It’s very easy to use and it’s easy to keep track of all the records being broken.

The future is bright for quality hopefuls, that’s for sure.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next U18 World Junior Championship.

In brief

– Will we see Tij Iginla’s name called by the Montreal Canadiens at the next draft?

– Stay tuned.

– That’s a nice comparison.

Matthew Tkachuk must think this one’s pretty funny.

– His back is clearly hurting him, again.

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