The pressure of being the youngest Finnish forward to represent his country at the 2012 World Junior Championship never seemed to get the best of forward Aleksander "Sasha" Barkov.

In fact, Barkov, who was one of only four 1995-born players participating at the 2012 WJC, became the youngest Finnish player to score a goal at the Under-20 tournament. At 16 years and four months, the 6-foot-2, 209-pound center made history when he connected for the decisive goal in an 8-5 victory against Slovakia in the tournament's quarterfinal round.

"It was a great experience and it was nice to score a goal against Slovakia," Barkov told "The best hockey experience ever was that tournament."

In his second tour of duty for Finland at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia, Barkov will certainly be a marked man. After all, he's considered the top European prospect available in the 2013 NHL Draft.

It seems as if all the attention may have made him even stronger. In his final tuneup against the United States on Saturday, Barkov struck for a goal and two assists in a 5-1 win.

"Barkov is big, strong and a hard worker in all areas of the ice," NHL Central Scouting's Goran Stubb told "He's a sniper who can also set up scoring chances for teammates. I like the fact that he's a two-way center with a good understanding of his defensive duties."

Despite hailing from a country that has groomed its share of world-class hockey talent, Barkov told his idol growing up was Eric Lindros. A surprising choice, considering the longtime Flyers great retired when Barkov was 11 years old.

"I'm a playmaking center and my strengths are passing the puck and game understanding," he said.

Barkov finished with one goal and four points in seven games for fourth-place Finland at the 2012 WJC in Edmonton and Calgary. He's looking forward to getting another shot this year.

"It has been my goal beginning this season to play [in Russia] and have a big role on the team," Barkov said. "Of course, because the tournament is being held in my other homeland, it charges me up even more."

Barkov's father, Alexander Barkov, is of Russian descent and played many years for his country. The elder Barkov played in Russia for Spartak Moscow and in Italy before moving to Finland to play for Tappara in the Elite League. He's currently an assistant coach for Ak Bars Kazan in the Koninental Hockey League. Aleksander Barkov's mother, Olga, played on the Russian national basketball team.