5 players who turned heads at the world juniors

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BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 4: Drake Batherson #19 of Canada celebrates after scoring on Josef Korenar #30 of Czech Republic during the IIHF World Junior Championship at KeyBank Center on January 4, 2018 in Buffalo, New York. Canada beat the Czech Republic 7-2.
Kevin Hoffman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Another year of the World Junior Hockey Championship is in the books.

Canada ultimately took home gold with a win over Sweden on Friday, and throughout the tournament we were left with some brilliant impressions of the most talented young players from around the world.

Here are five such players who put themselves on the map with their stellar play over the last two weeks:

Drake Batherson, Canada

Batherson seemingly came out of nowhere, as the 19-year-old forward made the Canadian team despite going without an invite to the summer evaluation camp. By the end of the tournament, he'd become one of Canada's most valuable players.

The 2017 Ottawa Senators fourth-round selection finished tied for second in the tournament with seven goals in seven games, including a hat trick in Canada's semifinal win over the Czech Republic.

The question now is, will the Senators give Batherson a taste of the NHL sooner rather than later?

Filip Zadina, Czech Republic

We haven't heard the last of Filip Zadina.

The Czech forward played a monumental role for a team that improved from a sixth-place finish last year to fourth this time around, matching Batherson with seven goals in seven games.

Zadina has torn it up for the Halifax Mooseheads this season, tallying 24 goals and 46 points in 32 games, but he really put his lethal release on display for the world to see over the last couple weeks. He's expected to be selected with one of the top five picks in June's draft, and it's easy to see why.

Kieffer Bellows, USA

On the topic of players with great shots, Kieffer Bellows stood out.

The New York Islanders prospect led the tournament by scoring nine times, surpassing Jeremy Roenick to set a new American record for goals in a single world juniors.

Like Zadina, Bellows proved that his greatest asset is his impeccable shot. The Islanders are already enjoying the fruits of Mathew Barzal - who's making a strong case for the Calder Trophy this season - and could soon have another top-end talent entering the picture.

Martin Necas, Czech Republic

Very few people would have predicted that a member of the Czech Republic would lead the tournament in scoring, but here we are.

Necas matched USA's Casey Mittelstadt with 11 points in seven games to pace all players as an 18-year-old. The Czech forward was plucked 12th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes last year and drew into the lineup in mid-October before being loaned back to the Czech Republic.

Necas was so heavily relied upon by the Czechs that he actually averaged the second-most ice time on the team despite being a forward. It will be interesting to see what he can do if he returns to play in next year's tournament.

Cale Makar, Canada

Maybe it shouldn't be all that surprising that a fourth overall pick had a great showing at the world juniors, but Cale Makar is an interesting case.

The Colorado Avalanche draftee earned a spot playing largely as the seventh defenseman on the Canadian blue line, but in that time showed off his offensive talent and ability to quarterback a power play.

Makar concluded the tournament with eight points in seven games to co-lead all defenseman, was named to the tournament's All-Star team, and did all that despite playing the fewest minutes per game among Canadian defenders.

Makar was drafted out of Junior A hockey and is currently in his freshman year at UMass. With more seasoning in the NCAA, he could develop into one elite defenseman.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)