Early Saturday morning Hockey Canada made its remaining minimize, cementing the ultimate 23-man roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship. Benoit- Oliver Groulx of the Halifax Mooseheads was the odd-man out as Canada begins its journey to a gold medal.
Now all the way down to the ultimate 23-man roster, the Staff 🇨🇦 traces at observe are:Lafrenière-Veleno-FooteByfield-Hayton-Cozens Foudy-Dellandrea-DudasMcMichael-Thomas-LavoieMercerMcIssac-SmithBahl-Bernard-DockerByram-AddisonDrysdaleDawsHofer Rodrigue— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 21, 2019After a disappointing end on the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, the place they did not make it out of the quarterfinals, you may be sure this 12 months that the group mentality goes to be very totally different.
The workforce’s most important power might be its depth. Each the forwards and protection have an abundance of high-end velocity and ability with the flexibility to have robust positional play in their very own finish. Much like the groups that gained in 2015 and 2017, it will likely be a full workforce effort from the very starting.
“I feel we’re going to be a tough working hockey membership,” mentioned Hunter concerning the id of the workforce at first of the choice camp. “I feel we’re going to have good velocity… I feel we’re going to play a high-speed recreation.”
Barrett Hayton is considered one of many returning gamers from final 12 months’s World Juniors squad. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
With 5 returning gamers type final 12 months’s event and fairly quite a few prime prospects for the 2020 Draft on the roster, there’s little doubt that Staff Canada will look to dominate the event as soon as once more. This workforce goes to be extraordinarily entertaining to look at.
Nico Daws (Guelph Storm), Joel Hofer (Portland Winterhawks), Olivier Rodrigue (Moncton Wildcats)
Canada is bringing alongside three goalies this time round; there hasn’t been a transparent minimize number-one choice for Canada. It’s primarily a three-person battle for the job.
The apparent selection can be Olivier Rodrigue of the Moncton Wildcats within the Quebec Main Junior Hockey League. He’s represented Canada beforehand, profitable gold on the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. His worldwide resume is spectacular however his numbers in junior are common, which hasn’t made him a runaway for the beginning job simply but.
Guelph Storm goalie Nico Daws and Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks had spectacular camps for his or her first time representing Canada internationally. Each goalies are the highest web minders of their respective leagues and every have a case to be the starter for Canada. Daws, who was an unknown heading into camp, leads the Ontario League with a 2.06 objectives in opposition to common (GAA) and a .939 save share (SV%), whereas Hofer is first in GAA common with 1.81 and second with a .937 SV%.
Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm is a robust candidate to battle for the beginning goalie place. Photograph by Terry Wilson / OHL Pictures.
It’s anybody’s recreation. Often Canada has already established their starter nicely upfront. With the play of Daws and Hofer nevertheless, it makes issues just a little extra fascinating. This could possibly be paying homage to 2008 the place Jonathan Bernier was imagined to be the starter, however was over taken by Steve Mason who went on to turn into the highest goalie within the event. Might we see the identical factor occur this 12 months the place Rodrigue is the clear favorite and both Daws or Hofer take over? Canada has three stable choices, however they’ve to select one to be their go-to man in web.
Calen Addison (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s), Jacob Bernard-Docker (College of North Dakota), Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants), Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters), Jared McIsaac (Halifax Mooseheads), Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)
Staff Canada’s blue line is a good mixture of robust puck-moving defenders which have velocity and the flexibility to offer robust protection in their very own finish. With their potential to maneuver the puck up in transition and take part on the push, there is no such thing as a doubt that this might be considered one of their strengths heading into the event.
Canada’s protection will depend on returnees Ty Smith and Jared McIsaac who’re seen as the highest pairing for Canada. Smith’s robust offensive imaginative and prescient and puck transferring talents, in addition to McIsaac’s presence as a two-way defender praise one another and can function an ideal stability on this pairing. Smith is seeking to be considered one of Canada’s prime energy play quarterback whereas McIsaac will look to make use of his defensive play as an asset on the workforce’s penalty kill.
Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs will look to be a robust contributor on Staff Canada’s blue line (Larry Brunt/Spokane Chiefs)
Colorado Avalanche 2019 first-round decide Bowen Byram might be an excellent asset along with his potential to leap into the play and supply an excellent scoring contact. Including Calen Addison to the combination must be an thrilling pairing the place each defenders are offensive minded. The pairing regarded nice of their first pre-tournament recreation in opposition to Switzerland, the place Byram scored a purpose.
Nonetheless, the primary focus might be on potential prime 10 decide within the 2020 draft, Jamie Drysdale. Drysdale was a query mark coming into camp as a 17-year-old, draft-eligible participant. However after his efficiency in choice camp and in his first pre-tournament recreation, Drysdale belongs on this workforce. His endurance with and with out the puck is past exemplary and his imaginative and prescient to know when to leap into the play is by far the perfect on the workforce. Assistant coach Andre Tourigny even went as far as to name him “a genius” when he’s on the ice. Whereas he’s the seventh defenseman, Drysdale might be a giant a part of this workforce regardless of his rank and will see extra ice time if he continues to carry out nicely.
Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge), Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds), Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Assault), Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets), Liam Foudy (London Knights), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes), Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic), Raphael Lavoie (Halifax), Connor McMichael (London), Dawson Mercer (Drummondville Voltigeurs), Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs), Joe Veleno (Grand Rapids Griffins)
Whereas Canada has robust offensive weapons like Dylan Cozens and Nolan Foote, everybody’s eyes might be on the highest two picks within the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Alexis Lafreniere, the projected first general, is anticipated to placed on a clinic at this 12 months’s event. The offensive powerhouse for the Rimouski Oceanic has 70 factors in 32 video games. His velocity, palms and ability are at an elite stage and may flip the heads of scouts and viewers watching the event.
Alexis Lafreniere will look to steer Canada’s offence at this 12 months’s World Juniors. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan)
Quinton Byfield, the projected second-overall decide, will look to do the identical. Byfield’s dimension is his biggest asset, in addition to his shot. He was a key contributor for Canada on the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this previous summer season and is seeking to replicate his offensive presence in a event with gamers a 12 months or two older. Regardless of the age distinction, Byfield will be capable to maintain his personal and can be capable to produce up entrance.
Like McIssac and Smith offering the veteran management on protection, Canada was extraordinarily fortunate to have Barrett Hayton and Joe Veleno to steer the offense together with Lafreniere. Hayton recorded 4 assists in 5 video games final 12 months for Canada and very like everybody else, the truth that their event ended early nonetheless stings. He hopes that he can use that have on this 12 months’s event.
Veleno is seeking to do the identical after being on mortgage from Grand Rapids. Whereas Hayton didn’t see an entire lot of enjoying time on the NHL stage, Veleno obtained loads of expertise within the American Hockey League and can use that to his benefit.
Joe Veleno of the Grand Rapids Griffins will look to make use of his expertise from final 12 months and on the professional stage for this 12 months’s World Juniors. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)
With each available as returning gamers after solely having one participant final 12 months, it’ll assist to have multiple participant to show to for management.
Whereas loads of the main target might be on the offensive presence of the highest six, the depth gamers shouldn’t be neglected. The velocity on the road of Aidan Dudas- Ty Dellandrea- Liam Foudy was on full show throughout their recreation in opposition to Switzerland, whereas Connor McMichael and Akil Thomas confirmed their potential get in on the forecheck and find the puck. Dawson Mercer, who was a bubble participant heading into camp, flew underneath the radar and has battled to earn a spot in the course of the course of and could possibly be a Tyler Steenburgen sort of participant from two years in the past.
Just like the protection, the ahead group is extraordinarily deep with expertise and could be the perfect heading into the event. Whereas the vast majority of the offense might be carried by gamers like Lafreniere, Byfield, Hayton and Cozens, the depth can even play it’s half to offer a balanced assault.
As an entire, Staff Canada’s depth up entrance and on the again finish is it’s biggest power heading into the event. Everybody on the workforce supplies a ability set that Mark and Dale Hunter wished. From the a number of puck-moving defensemen to the various scoring threats on the ahead place, Staff Canada will little doubt be one of many hardest groups to play in opposition to this 12 months.
All of the 2020 World Junior Championship Staff Data:
*Hyperlinks to come back all through December
Canada — Staff Preview — Roster
Czech Republic — Staff Preview — Roster
Finland — Staff Preview — Roster
Germany — Staff Preview — Roster
Kazakhstan — Staff Preview — Roster
Russia — Staff Preview — Roster
Slovakia — Staff Preview — Roster
Sweden — Staff Preview — Roster
Switzerland — Staff Preview — Roster
USA — Staff Preview — Roster
Choice Camp Invitations by NHL Staff
Roster Breakdowns by NHL Staff
All Your THW 2020 World Junior Championship Protection