While players such as Mathew Dumba, Elias Lindholm and Mikhail Grigorenko have been loaned from their NHL clubs to represent their countries at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden, you can't help but notice who's not there. There's those special players that are already shining in the NHL at 18 or 19-years-old, those headscratchers that probably should be at the tournament instead of riding pine or sitting in the press box, and then there's Zemgus Girgensons who won't be there because Latvia got relegated. Regardless of how you look at it, the World Juniors could have been absolutely stacked this year.
With that said, let's take a look at the guys you won't be seeing at the World Juniors because they're sticking with their NHL teams:
Aleksander Barkov - Florida PanthersThrough 38 games played the 18-year-old has 6 goals and 10 assists which is pretty good considering he's the youngest player in the league. Averaging 16:37 TOI/game, Barkov has been on the ice for the most 5-on-5 goals for among Panthers forwards and also gets plenty of powerplay time. He's an important player for Florida and there's no way they'd want him to take a step back in his development.
Nathan MacKinnon - Colorado AvalancheWith 8 goals and 13 assists in 37 games, MacKinnon sits 2nd in rookie scoring and should be a candidate for the Calder at the end of the year if he continues to keep his scoring pace. Averaging just over 16 minutes/game and over 2 minutes of powerplay time/game, MacKinnon has been a solid player for the Avalanche at the ripe age of 18-years-old. He and Drouin would have been a lot of fun to watch at these World Juniors.
Valeri Nichushkin - Dallas StarsNichushkin has benefited from playing on the Stars top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and while he started slow he's scored 11 points in his last 12 games. Not only does Nichushkin have 7 goals and 12 assists in 36 games, but he's leading his team in +/- with a +14 rating and has the best Corsi For % among Dallas forwards. While he does get some powerplay time, Nichushkin's been a beast at even strength scoring with 17 of his 19 points at even strength.
Sean Monahan - Calgary FlamesMonahan is one of the Flames bright spots this season with 10 goals and 6 assists through 31 games played and when you're one of leading goal scorers on your team I don't think they're going to let you go pad your stats in Europe for two weeks. Averaging 15:14 TOI/game, Monahan also sees plenty of powerplay time and gets to play most nights with the Flames top scorer, Jiri Hudler. He would have been a big boost for Team Canada this year.
Seth Jones - Nashville Predators
The young American has been logging big minutes for the Nashville Predators and has played the most among all rookies with 804:10 TOI so far this season. Jones plays in all situations and over half of his 11 points have come with the man advantage. So far Jones has played over 25 minutes/game eleven times and has even hit the 30-minute mark twice. It's a heavy load for a 19-year-old, but Jones is handling it well for the 16-18-4 Preds.