The Canadians will likely be bringing a stunning variety of draft-eligible gamers to Oakville, whereas goaltending seems to be nearly a clean slate because the summer time. We check out a number of the surprising additions and eyebrow-raising subtractions for world junior camp.
Quinton Byfield|Vaughn Ridley/Getty Pictures
Staff Canada has launched its 31-player camp roster for the world juniors and there may be positively some intrigue heading into the proceedings in Oakville, Ont. A wholesome dose of 2020 NHL draft prospects made the preliminary subject, whereas another older hopefuls from the summer time’s World Junior Summer season Showcase have been left off. Of notice, Canada will even be holding out for a pair youngsters within the execs proper now: Joe Veleno, Kirby Dach, Barrett Hayton and Noah Dobson. Right here’s a take a look at a number of the surprises, damaged down by place.
This was essentially the most risky class and there may be good cause: netminding goes to be an enormous wild card for Canada as there isn’t a sure-fire No. 1 as there was final 12 months with Carter Hart. Not making the December minimize had been Alexis Gravel (CHI), Colten Ellis (STL) or Zach Emond (SJ). All three play within the QMJHL and none of them had significantly sturdy summer time showcases – although Emond didn’t play attributable to an undisclosed harm and left early. Olivier Rodrigue (EDM) and Hunter Jones (MIN) had been additionally in Michigan for the WJSS they usually did get an invitation to Oakville. I get the sense that Rodrigue has the within observe on the starter’s job, however a few new invitees might need one thing to say about that.
Joel Hofer (STL) has been glorious for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks this season and he has the dimensions (6-foot-5) and composure to get the job executed. He’s additionally one of many statistical leaders within the ‘Dub’ with a 1.95 goals-against common and .935 save proportion.
Out within the OHL, undrafted Nico Daws pressured his method into the dialog with a superb autumn for the Guelph Storm. I anticipate Daws to be drafted this summer time – final 12 months the large netminder was merely hidden behind veteran Anthony Popovich, who led the Storm to a playoff title. However Daws was sharp on the CHL-Russia sequence and his stats with the rebuilding Storm have been strong.
The most important identify lacking from Canada’s protection record is Ryan Merkley (SJ), although I’m undecided you can name it a “snub.” Merkley is a improbable skater and offensive participant, however protection and temperament haven’t at all times been his greatest buddy. Canada coach Dale Hunter traded for Merkley this season with OHL London, so he clearly had the e book already on whether or not or to not carry the child. Draft-eligible Justin Barron of QMJHL Halifax didn’t make the minimize after enjoying on the summer time sequence, however he’s younger and can undoubtedly make it subsequent 12 months. One other 2020 prospect, OHL Erie’s Jamie Drysdale, did get an invitation and I’d think about his sturdy play for each the Otters and Staff OHL on the CHL-Russia sequence helped his case. Declan Chisholm (WPG) was additionally left off the roster after being on the WJSS, however he got here in as an harm substitute, so it’s not too surprising. Just a little extra stunning is the omission of Jett Woo (VAN), who was on the WJSS. Jonny Tychonick (OTT) from the College of North Dakota didn’t make the ultimate minimize both after being in Michigan.
Evidently, Canada is not going to undergo for firepower, however the mind belief isn’t taking its process frivolously, both. Quinton Byfield, one of many prime 2020 draft prospects, made the minimize after lacking the WJSS – however he was on the under-18 Hlinka-Gretzky event across the identical time, which explains that. Byfield has been a drive for OHL Sudbury and he ought to get a really actual probability to make this roster. He’ll be joined in Oakville by one other hot-shot 2020 draft prospect, OHL Saginaw’s Cole Perfetti. Like Byfield, Perfetti missed the WJSS as a result of Hlinka-Gretzky and each additionally appeared nice on the CHL-Russia sequence. However we’re not completed with the 2020 draft crop, as Dylan Holloway from the College of Wisconsin will get a crack, too. Holloway is an enormous child with nice skating potential and he’s been holding his personal as a younger freshman on the Badgers. There’s additionally Dawson Mercer, the 2020 prospect from QMJHL Drummondville who opened plenty of eyes on the CHL-Russia sequence along with his high-end, two-way play.
As for snubs, the primary that come to thoughts are Riley Damiani (DAL) and Samuel Poulin (PIT). Damiani, in my thoughts, would have been an ideal grinder/penalty-killer, whereas Poulin is an influence ahead having a superb 12 months within the ‘Q.’ Whereas Poulin wasn’t on the WJSS, Damiani was. So had been Jamieson Rees (CAR) and Ryan Suzuki (CAR) and neither of them bought December invitations, amongst others. There’s additionally Phil Tomasino (NSH), a speedster having a really good 12 months with OHL Niagara – although he’ll be eligible subsequent 12 months, too. Similar goes for Brayden Tracey (ANA), who has piled up factors for WHL Moose Jaw.
Total, it’s exhausting to quibble with any of Canada’s picks right here. The ahead group is dynamic and deep, the protection is cellular and whereas the goaltending is a query mark, the mind belief no less than wasn’t dogmatic of their picks: they introduced the 4 youngsters that can give them the most effective probability out of the pool out there.
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