OHL Writers Hot Stove December 5th
With the announcement of team Canada’s WJ selection camp roster what is your biggest surprise? It can be a roster omission or a roster addition.
Dominic Tiano ( @dominictiano )
I guess with only 25 players named to the selection camp, I can't say that there is any real surprise other than that itself.
With that said, if there is a surprise for me it has to be on defense. You can't argue the selection of Aaron Ekblad, Chris Bigras or Adam Pelech from the OHL but the omissions speak to the depth of the Canadian blue line when OHL'ers Darnell Nurse and Slater Koekkoek are not named.
Nurse was the 7th overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2013 NHL Draft and is having another fine season for the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and has plenty of international experience. Koekkoek has suffered through injuries the past few seasons but is healthy and having a great season for the Windsor Spitfires. He also has plenty of international experience.
Phil Phillips ( @FilPhillips )
For me the biggest surprise with the 25 players that have been invited to attend Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, is how Guelph Storm LW Brock McGinn was not invited ? Brock McGinn and his physical approach to the game and his defensive play are made for this tournament, he can skate well, forecheck hard and help his team control play in the offensive zone by winning battles in front and along the boards. McGinn's the type of player who hits anything that moves and is usually the first one in on the forecheck to win a puck battle in the corner or along the boards. Many of his contributions don't always show up on the scoresheet. He started to change that last season, McGinn had a career season in Guelph in 2012-2013 and contributed more offense than he ever had before. Despite starting the year with a bad wrist, McGinn ended the season with 28 goals and scored at nearly a point-per-game pace, both of which are impressive for a player that was considered a "grinder" up to that point in his career.|
This season with 22G - 23A, McGinn in on pace to at least double all of his career highs. This season the pride of Fergus, ON has been one of the the most consistent players in the OHL, starting the season on a 23 game point streak. That seen him pick up 20 goals and 20 assists. In 28 games played so far Brock has points in all, but two. Sitting 4th in league scoring you would think that McGinn scored a bunch on the Storm's 5th ranked man advantage. But that's not the case, out of Brock's 45 points only 4 have came on the power play. McGinn plays a type of game that can translate nicely to the WJC. Team Canada is always going to have forwards who light up the scoreboard but they don't fit into a bottom-six role or play well away from the puck. McGinn is sort of the opposite of that. He has natural skill, but won't dazzle you on the ice and most of his points come by crashing the net or shooting to create rebounds. He isn't shy about physical play, so going to the dirty areas to score is not an issue for McGinn. Team Canada has usually had success with players who can do this effectively. The fact that McGinn doesn't need to score to be a contributing player says a lot, he would have fit nicely into a third or fourth line role.
Brandon Sudeyko ( @intheoradio )
Biggest surprise is the lack of names to the camp. only 25? makes it easy with one set of cuts, but you are going to risk your goaltending on just two bodies. not even 4 to give someone a shot? Is this a futures move? How can it be. Sutter is setting up Canadian Goaltending to fail and then leading Hockey Canada to possibly ban imports entirely. Paterson got the experience of travelling with the team and being around the atmosphere knowing what to expect. Fucale will do that this year, but heaven forbid Jake faulters and you have a rookie at this level need to go in and also fail. Now do you got to Fucale next year or bring in two rookies who never had U20 experience.
People will point to Nurse or Domi being omitted and you can say Tyler Toffoli should have had a chance. But bringing so few to camp, putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak is probably not the best for the entire program as a whole.
Alex Quevillon ( @A_Quevillon )
It should be the omission of Nurse for me, because guys who play textbook two-way defence are generally a premium, but I actually understand that decision. He didn't look so good in the Russia series, and while that shouldn't be the basis for Hockey Canada's decision making, two years ago Dougie Hamilton really struggled in the series then had a very underwhelming tournament. Leaving Nurse out is tough, but understandable. The one that still gets me is McDavid, and don't get me wrong, I love watching McDavid play, but I don't see it being a good thing rushing him into this tourney. Let him dominate kids his own age for another year, bring him back in his draft year. He's been forced to grow up fast enough as a result of the exceptional status ruling, let him play another year of u-17. I'm wishing all the best for McDavid, he's a truly unique talent and such a humble kid given his age and talent. I just haven't ever been a fan of taking 16-year olds to a tournament dominated by 19-year olds. That, and I grew up with the 67's, I've had time to get used to criticizing Canada's decisions; 11 years and counting without a 67 in red and white!
Chris Mcdonald ( @ChrisMcdonald91 )
A surprise for me, was seeing Josh Anderson's name. But it was a good surprise. The London knight has done nothing but improve all aspects of his game under the tutelage of the Hunters. He has gone from being an undrafted free agent signing to an NHL prospect (Columbus '12) and if he continues to play his game he can add member of Team Canada to his growing list of accomplishments. He would be a perfect fit as a bottom 6 forward and a great penalty killer for Canada at the world juniors if he does make the team. I was disappointed to see Matt Finn's name left off the list of players invited to camp. If Canada had invited it's regular amount of players I have no doubt Finn would've gotten an invite but with management deciding to only bring 8 d man to camp Finn became expendable in their eyes. Finn has rebounded nicely after missing a third of last year due to mono and a knee injury. The leafs prospect sits 4th in points amongst defence man in the OHL. Offence isn't all he brings to the table, Finn plays a good two way game and can play a defensively sound game when he needs too.
Peter Kneulman ( @PeterKneulman )
When only 25 players get an invite compared to 30+ in most years there are going to be a few surprise omissions. To me what caught me most off guard when the rosters were announced was the fact that there were no Guelph Storm invited and the absence of Darnell Nurse.
Aside from Erie, Guelph in my opinion has been one of the most excited and most well rounded teams. Their forward and defense are all extremely versatile and can fill a plethora of rolls which helps that team roll 4 lines and wear down opponents. Matt Finn, Brock McGinn and Scott Kosmachuk could all fill multiple rolls and add a versatility that is needed in a short tournament in case of injury.
Darnell Nurse was the other shocker as I figured he was a lock to make the team based on his play so far early in the season. Given the extra opportunities presented to him due to your typical junior hockey roster turnover his offensive exploits have finally be able to show up on the stat sheet. Defensively he has been solid as usual as his combination of size, speed and nasty make him a difficult player to play against. In the end a rough summer camp may have held him back as he battled discipline issues in some of the exhibition games. As they say trust is the hardest thing to gain but the easiest thing to lose and Brent Sutter will want to trust is Dmen.
When looking at the big picture while surprised I don’t neccesairly disagree with these moves after all Brent Sutter has coached 2 more world junior teams to gold than I have. In some sense a smaller seems like the right move. After all wouldn’t you rather have decisions made over the long haul rather than someone getting hot during a 3 game camp? That being said if the ’05 only had a 25 man camp would Corey Perry have been given a chance to earn his spot on the team?