CALGARY – From the onset of Team Canada’s selection camp, the atmosphere at the stunningMarkin MacPhail Centre has been electric.
31 players remain at camp vying for the 23 roster spots.
Here are ten reflections and observations heading into Thursday before the final game against theUniversity of Calgary Dinos and subsequently, the final cuts:
1. The World Junior Hockey Championships is thought of, in general, as a 19-year-old tournament. Nonetheless, Team Canada would be making a monumental mistake in not taking all of the three youngest remaining players left at camp. Rarely does Team Canada rely on first year NHL draft eligble players to play key roles. This might be even more a consideration given the abundance of available talent with the NHL lockout. This year is different.
Nathan MacKinnon has likely has his place cemented in the lineup with his unparalleled explosiveness. The other two remaining projected top 10 2013 NHL draft eligible players also bring unique and dynamic qualities to the team. Jonathan Drouin brings incomparable puckhandling wizardry and creativity to the rink. Hunter Shinkaruk provides elite goal-scoring ability; he has a nose for the net and not afraid to go to the dirty areas. Are the kids physically mature enough to handle the rigors of the World Junior tournament?
Future Considerations’ scout Zenon Herashymiuk concurs that the 2013 eligibles stepped up their game (FC).
2. The other projected top 10 player, Ottawa’s (OHL) all-around centreman Sean Monahan, was amongst the first five cuts. He exhibited hints of what could be, but ultimately is not quite ready to contribute at the level Team Canada needs. Look out in Malmö, Sweden for the World Juniors in 2014 should he not make the NHL after being drafted.
*For the remainder of my 10 reflections from Team Canada Selection Camp, read the full article at The Hockey Writers.