December 03, 2012
Thanks to the NHL lockout, Team Canada's roster for the IIHF World U20 Championship is a moving target. But Hockey Canada has its roster for next week's national junior team selection camp.
Thirty-seven players have been chosen for the tryouts, which begin on Monday in Calgary. Team Canada, under coach Steve Spott, will begin the world junior in Ufa, Russia, on Dec. 26 as it vies to win its first gold medal in four seasons.
Buzzing The Net has taken a stab at naming a final roster and you are invited to weigh in as well. We will host a livechat at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT to discuss the selections. Here is a look at each invitee. with commentary:
Francis Beauvillier, Rimouski Océanic — Florida Panthers pick has some serious giddy-up that could be utilized in an energy-line/penalty-killing role. Helped the eighth-seeded Océanic reach the President's Cup final last spring in the QMJHL.
Anthony Camara, Barrie Colts — The Boston Bruins chanced a third-rounder on him hoping he could be Milan Lucic-lite; he has 19 goals as a 19-year-old after scoring 30 in his first three seasons. Energy-line candidate.
Daniel Catenacci, Owen Sound Attack — Smallish, speedy centre could audition for a checking-line role; the Buffalo Sabres third-rounder has helped Owen Sound scale to top of its division in the OHL.
Phillip Danault, Victoriaville Tigres — Centre who could fit on either a checking or energy line; Chicago Blackhawks first-rounder will arrive in camp with a spot to lose. Leads the Tigres in scoring.
Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads — No question of skill, just one of physical maturity for the scoring ace who has only been in junior since last December. Plays a lot like another Quebecer named Jonathan.
Tyler Graovac, Ottawa 67's — 6-foot-4 centre who nearly fell through the draft floor in 2011 due to injuries. 'Grayo' can score, win faceoffs and kill penalties. Was a seventh-round steal for the Minnesota Wild.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John Sea Dogs — Has won back-to-back President's Cups and a Memorial Cup in the QMJHL, but only a world junior bronze. Dynamic left wing has been called the best player in Canada.
Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi Saguéneens — A Spott favourite who could be the worker bee on the second line. He has had 23 points in the past 11 games while spurring the Sags to an 8-3 roll.
Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals — Returning centre expected to provide some Canadian beef as the No. 3 or No. 4 centre. Also has an OHL-best 26 goals.
JC Lipon, Kamloops Blazers — Co-scoring leader with linemate Colin Smith in the WHL even though he was not drafted last year. Cue the instant comparison to Los Angeles Kings prospect Tanner Pearson, who was in the same situation coming from the OHL's Barrie last season and stuck with Canada as the 13th forward.
Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads — Hockey Canada might still need to 100 per cent sold on the 17-year-old who is the nearly consensus No. 1 overall pick for the next NHL draft. MacKinnon, who has 22 goals and 47 points in 27 games for Halifax, would be the youngest forward to make Team Canada since John Tavares in 2008.
Mark McNeill, Prince Albert Raiders — Blackhawks first-rounder is a versatile forward and captain in P.A., which has gone from worst to first in its conference.
Sean Monahan, Ottawa 67's — Intuitive two-way centre who is probably on the same track Sean Couturier was two seasons ago: play for Canada in his NHL draft season and go right to The Show. Has not played since Nov. 20 due to a head-checking suspension.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oklahoma City Barons — Locked-out NHLer will be the first picked in 'who will the be the tournament's top forward' pools, assuming that is a thing.
Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks — One of the best strikers in junior hockey, with 93 regular-season and playoff goals since St. Louis snapped him up in the second round in 2011. Can take either right or left wing. Scored Team WHL's only goal in two games vs. Russia.
Brett Ritchie, Niagara IceDogs — Being Ryan Strome's linemate could be his in; 6-foot-4, 215-pound finisher will have to prove he can adapt from IceDogs' cozy ice surface to playing on big ice.
Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts — Could be playing for the Winnipeg Jets. Instead, the question is whether he's the No. 1 right wing or No. 2 centre.
Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat Tigers — Calgary native is his league's top forward prospect for the 2013 draft, but needs a big camp after having a so-so tournament last spring for the under-18 iteration of Team Canada.
Colton Sissons, Kelowna Rockets — Captain of a contending team who puts up numbers and comes from an environment in Kelowna good at inculcating the finer points of defence.
Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs — Major junior's top scorer is forecast to be one of Canada's four best forwards.
Tom Wilson, Plymouth Whalers — A barracuda along the boards who is often good for a momentum-changing massive check. Washington Capitals first-rounder is good timbre for Canada's energy line.
Frankie Corrado, Sudbury Wolves — A long-shot candidate, but the Vancouver Canucks prospect is a smooth skater. Helped the Wolves win the Junior Club World Cup in Russia this summer.
Mathew Dumba, Red Deer Rebels — Hits like a ton of bricks and Hockey Canada thinks highly of the Minnesota Wild No. 7 overall choice. It comes down to the size of his post-draft season bounce.
Dougie Hamilton, Niagara IceDogs — He's 6-foot-5, can cover a lot of ice very quickly and likes to jump into the attack. He and Morgan Rielly played together during the Canada-Russia Challenge in August.
Scott Harrington, London Knights — Hockey Canada received zero media requests for him at last season's selection camp until he made the team. Harrington has been a bellwether on the blueline across London's OHL championship run last season and push to first overall this fall.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers — Playmaker who skates for Spott in Kitchener has been cut by Canada two consecutive years, but he can run a power play.
Xavier Ouellet, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada — Big horse on the blueline for the toughest team to score against in the QMJHL. Detroit Red Wings pick also averages nearly a point a game.
Adam Pelech, Erie Otters — Solid two-way defenceman whom Canada road-tested during its summer challenge series against Russia, would be better-known if he played on a stronger OHL team. Only 18, so he has another season to crack the lineup.
Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks — Offensive defenceman whom the Pittsburgh Penguins took No. 8 overall in the last NHL draft certainly has a chance to crack the lineup as an 18-year-old.
Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings — Canada is not awash in big-bodied blueliners, so the 6-foot-4, 202-pound New York Islanders first-rounder could fill a spot on the third pairing.
Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw Warriors — The Toronto Maple Leafs' beckon of hope should join Hamilton ons Canada's top pair. Has helped the Warriors stay afloat despite heavy losses from last season's WHL semifinalist.
Ryan Sproul, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds — Six-foot-four offensive defenceman has shone on some subpar Soo teams; he and Ouellet were both second-round picks of the Detroit Red Wings in 2011. Late bloomer.
Tyler Wotherspoon, Portland Winterhawks — Seth Jones' D partner in Portland leads his league in plus/minus and plays disciplined with only 4 PIM all season. Sleeper pick to crack squad.
Jordan Binnington, Owen Sound Attack — St. Louis Blues prospect currently owns the OHL's 'goalie slam,' being first in average, save percentage, shutouts and wins.
Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oil Kings — He and Binnington are 2A and 2B in the pecking order behind Malcolm Subban. Superb technical goalie who belongs to the Calgary Flames but plays for a junior team owned by the Oilers.
Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit— Eighteen-year-old stymied Russian star Nail Yakupov in the OHL playoffs last spring before the Red Wings drafted him.
Malcolm Subban, Belleville Bulls — Frontrunner to start on the tourney opener for Canada on Dec. 26 plays on IIHF-sized ice in Bellevegas and is 5-0 in shootouts this season.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.