Hockey Canada on Monday invited 37 world junior championship hopefuls to its final selection camp next month, led by young Edmonton Oilers standout Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The 2011 NHL first overall pick has played for the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons during the NHL lockout this season.
Thirty-seven players were invited to selection camp Dec. 10-15 in Calgary including six from last year's bronze medal-winning squad in Calgary and Edmonton. The 23-man team including three goaltenders will be named Dec. 13 and departs for pre-competition camp in Finland two days later.
The tournament opens Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia.
"Thanks to Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence, many of these players have already received the experience necessary to deal with high-paced international competition such as the world juniors," Hockey Canada's head scout Kevin Prendergast said in a statement.
"The quality and skill of the 37 players invited to camp is a testament to the hard work, commitment and development of all those involved in the Canadian minor hockey and junior hockey systems."
Of the 37 players, 31 were drafted either in the 2011 or 2012 NHL drafts including 13 first round picks and eight second-round selections.
Hockey Canada would have limited the number of players invited to 28 if the NHL lockout was certain to continue into January. Having all of the country's top 18- and 19-year-old players at camp makes decisions simpler.
The extra players at camp will be insurance, should the NHL lockout end later this month and clubs quickly call their top teenagers to their training camps.
All countries submit their world junior tournament rosters to the International Ice Hockey Federation on Dec. 25, which allows for the addition of players should some be lost to the NHL in the days prior to the tournament.
Canada returns six players to the final selection camp: centres Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg), Ryan Strome (New York Islanders), winger Boone Jenner (Columbus) and defencemen Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh) and Doug Hamilton (Boston).
Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray, 19, will not be at this year's camp after tearing the labrum in his left shoulder during a Nov. 16 Western Hockey League game against Victoria.
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