My thoughts on the selection of the Canadian World Jr roster
Well is this the year Canada finally redeems themselves as one of hockey's elite?
In just a few short weeks we will know the finalized roster for the team. Meaning that there are still a few cuts to be made, but not many unlike previous years with Team Canada. I say this because the World Jr teams previous to this one make multiple rounds of cuts leading up to the opening day (Boxing day). Team Canada this year has trimmed that round cutting down by a very large margin this year as they only selected 25 players to potentially become members of the team to represent Canada this year. I guess taking fewer players would make it easier to make the final cuts? I would have say no to that and here’s why, if you invite 30 or more guys you have 2 weeks to trim and finalize your roster. So with that being said taking more guys would make the competition level even higher and make everyone perform to their best abilities in my opinion. Which in turn would only leave the best players to be left/stand out from the rest, if you only bring in 25 as Canada has done this year. I personally don't think you will see the same compete level throughout camp as you would if you had brought more in.
Now it's time to talk about the actual selection roster and who they did choose to bring to camp. First off some surprising players that I did not expect to see on paper is forwards Josh Anderson (London Knights) and Kerby Rychel (Windsor Spitfires). I bring up those two names because I am not 100% sure if they actually deserve to be on the roster. I could knit pick both guys and state my reasons why, but I could simply sum it up quicker by saying that both Anderson and Rychel aren't as good of players without their everyday line mates. I find that Anderson plays his best hockey when he is playing alongside Bo Horvat and Max Domi (London Knights), without those two by his side he almost seems lost and cannot find his game. I can say the very same with Rychel when he isn't playing with Steven Janes and Brady Vail (Windsor Spitfires) he is the exact same player as Anderson. With saying that they may not be as offensive as they are in the OHL with their respectful clubs but they do in fact bring a very physical upside, which Canada will desperately need this World Juniors.
Now onto notables who did not receive invites to Team Canada, the following players who were more than deserving to make the Team did not even receive an invite to this year’s Team Canada team. Forwards; Max Domi (London Knights), Brock McGinn (Guelph Storm) Connor Brown (Erie Otters) Mitch Holmberg (Spokane Cheifs). Defensemen; Darnell Nurse (Sault St. Marie Greyhounds) Matt Finn (Guelph Storm), Slater Koekkoek (Windsor Spitfires). All the players listed above bring everything that you would want in a Team Canada player, maybe they never got invited because Canada management staff had already ruled them out of contention? Who knows but this list has a lot of more than deserving players on it. Personally I think there were two big locks on the team if you and they are Max Domi and Darnell Nurse, two very big shocks for hockey fans as they were among the long list of players not invited.
Goaltending is always such a major question mark year in and year out for the World Jr Team Canada but this year it almost seems as there was no battling needed for the job. As they only took two goaltenders and they are Zachary Furcale and Jake Paterson. Both terrific goalies don't get me wrong but I really do think that it will be a mistake not taking a 3rd goalie just in case something ever happened to either Furcale or Paterson. In my opinion they will let them battle it out for number one during preliminary rounds but it is pretty clear that Furcale is more than likely going to be the number one for Team Canada this year.
Lastly closing this article I would like to say that we do have our share of offensive players with a good mix of physical players who can play both sides of the puck along with a lot of stand up two way defenders on the blue line. This World Jr team knows that Canada has been without a gold medal for a few years now and I am sure that they want to be the ones who bring it home for their country. It should be another very good tournament.