World juniors hockey hopefuls announced for Canada's selection camp
Mathew Dumba and Hunter Shinkaruk were on hand Monday with the announcement of its selection camp roster for the 2013 world junior hockey championship. Thirty-seven of Canada's top junior-aged players have been invited to take part in the camp. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun
Coming up with 23 world-class players isn’t a problem.
The issue facing Team Canada world junior coach Steve Spott is choosing only 23 players for the 2013 world junior hockey championships, beginning Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia.
Spott and the rest of the Canadian coaching brass will have a tough time cutting 14 players from the list of 37 selection camp hopefuls released Monday.
“People think that might be easy,” Spott said with a chuckle. “It’s really not. It’s a challenge.
“These are all world-class players, and they’ve never been cut before.
“So to get down to 23 will be a challenge, but the nice thing is we’ll field an extremely talented group of players this year.”
Spott made it clear he won’t be selecting the 20 fastest guys or the 20 best stickhandlers. There will be room for a role player or two.
“We’re blessed in this country with the talent that we have,” Spott said. “But we can’t lose sight of putting together the best team, not just the 20 best athletes.
“The 20 guys we assemble as skaters will have to have elements of speed, skill and, ultimately, we want to have some Canadian content — grit — in there as well.”
Headlining the group that will take to the ice next Tuesday in Calgary is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a candidate last season for the NHL’s Calder Trophy as top rookie.
The Edmonton Oilers young-gun will bring a wealth of experience.
“It’s not just on the ice but off the ice, too,” said Spott of Nugent-Hopkins. “He’s played with the men already in this sweater.
“With the pressure he’s had to deal with as an underage player in the National Hockey League, he’s going to exude confidence.
“He’ll be a big part of our leadership group, and he’s another weapon we can throw out there.”
Team Canada head scout Kevin Pendergast was among the group that passed over Nugent-Hopkins two years ago.
Canada went on to suffer a third-period implosion in a gold-medal loss to the Russians in Buffalo.
Pendergast won’t be leaving the Burnaby, B.C., product at home this time.
“You’re always surprised to get a player of that calibre,” Pendergast said. “But because of the circumstances, I think it’s a great fit for him.
“It’s the best tournament in the world. I know he’s playing in the American Hockey League right now. But from our standpoint, we feel this is good for him.
“He said he wants to come and play. He’s never played in this tournament, and he’s only going to get one chance to do it now.
“It’s huge for us to have a player of his calibre join our hockey club.”
For all the firepower Canada boasts up front — and there’s a ton of it — the team’s strength lies on the back end.
Six NHL first-round draft picks and four second-rounders will provide the deepest blueline in the tournament.
Returnees among defencemen include Dougie Hamilton (NHL Boston Bruins, OHL Niagara IceDogs) and Scott Harrington (NHL Pittsburgh Penguins, OHL London Knights), who are locks to make Team Canada, leaving a dogfight for the remaining five spots.
Defenceman Matt Dumba, a Calgarian who was cut from last year’s squad, said this defensive group has what it takes to put Canada back on top.
“It’s just working hard and getting back to the basics and playing that Canadian brand of hockey,” Dumba said. “That’s physical and skilled. It’s gritty and greasy.
“If we can do that, I think we’ll be fine.”
Of the four goaltenders — Malcom Subban, Laurent Brossoit, Jordan Binnington and Jake Paterson — only one will be cut, although the third goaltender will be with the team on an emergency basis only.
Canada’s first game is on Boxing Day versus Germany.
Canada’s roster for the selection camp, Dec. 10-15 in Calgary (with home town, team and NHL rights) * — member of 2012 national junior team:
Jordan Binnington, Richmond Hill, Ont., Owen Sound (OHL), St. Louis
Laurent Brossoit, Surrey, B.C.., Edmonton (WHL), Calgary
Jake Paterson, Mississauga, Ont., Saginaw (OHL), Detroit
Malcolm Subban, Toronto, Belleville (OHL), Boston
Frank Corrado, Toronto, Sudbury (OHL), Vancouver
Mathew Dumba, Calgary, Red Deer (WHL), Minnesota
Dougie Hamilton*, Toronto, Niagara (OHL), Boston
Scott Harrington*, Kingston, Ont., London (OHL), Pittsburgh
Ryan Murphy, Aurora, Ont., Kitchener (OHL), Carolina
Xavier Ouellet, Terrebonne, Que., Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL), Detroit
Adam Pelech, Toronto, Erie (OHL), N.Y. Islanders
Derrick Pouliot, Weyburn, Sask., Portland (WHL), Pittsburgh
Griffin Reinhart, West Vancouver, B.C., Edmonton (WHL), N.Y. Islanders
Morgan Rielly, West Vancouver, B.C., Moose Jaw (WHL), Toronto
Ryan Sproul, Mississauga, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), Detroit
Tyler Wotherspoon, Burnaby, B.C., Portland (WHL), Calgary
Francis Beauvillier, Sorel-Tracy, Que., Rimouski (QMJHL), Florida
Anthony Camara, Toronto, Ont., Barrie (OHL), Boston
Daniel Catenacci, Newmarket, Ont., Owen Sound (OHL), Buffalo
Phillip Danault, Victoriaville, Que., Victoriaville (QMJHL), Chicago
Jonathan Drouin, Ste-Agathe, Que., Halifax (QMJHL) Eligible 2013
Tyler Graovac, Brampton, Ont., Ottawa (OHL), Minnesota
Jonathan Huberdeau*, Prevost, Que., Saint John (QMJHL), Florida
Charles Hudon, Boisbriand, Que., Chicoutimi (QMJHL), Montreal
Boone Jenner*, Dorchester, Ont., Oshawa (OHL), Columbus
J.C. Lipon, Regina, Sask., Kamloops (WHL), Eligible 2013
Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax, N.S., Halifax (QMJHL), Eligible 2013
Mark McNeill, Newmarket, Ont., Prince Albert (WHL), Chicago
Sean Monahan, Brampton, Ont., Ottawa (OHL), Eligible 2013
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Burnaby, B.C., Oklahoma City (AHL), Edmonton
Ty Rattie, Airdrie, Alta., Portland (WHL), St. Louis
Brett Ritchie, Orangeville, Ont., Niagara (OHL), Dallas
Mark Scheifele*, Kitchener, Ont., Barrie (OHL), Winnipeg
Hunter Shinkaruk, Calgary, Alta., Medicine Hat (WHL) Eligible 2013
Colton Sissons, North Vancouver, B.C., Kelowna (WHL), Nashville
Ryan Strome*, Mississauga, Ont., Niagara (OHL), N.Y. Islanders
Tom Wilson, Toronto, Plymouth (OHL), Washington