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Team Canada U20 (WJHC) CHL Invite Roster

A couple weeks back I looked at the Hockey Canada (HC) U18 Camp Invitee roster, with an OHL focus, and gave you my honest opinion on whether or not certain OHLers would make it. Now it is time to look at the OHLers named to the U-20, or World Junior Hockey Championship (WJHC). The crown jewel in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence (PoE). Below is the complete list of invitees, (OHL in BOLD), and then a breakdown of whether or not they have a shot at making the team.

Tyler Bunz, Medicine Hat Tigers, Louis Domingue, Quebec Remparts, Mark Visentin, Niagara IceDogs, Scott Wedgewood, Plymouth Whalers

Nathan Beaulieu, Saint John Sea Dogs, Cody Ceci, Ottawa 67's, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Rimouski, Oceanic, Brandon Gormley, Moncton Wildcats, Erik Gudbranson, Kingston Frontenacs, Dougie Hamilton, Niagara IceDogs, Scott Harrington, London Knights, Martin Lefebvre, Quebec Remparts, Joe Morrow, Portland Winterhawks, Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers, Ryan Murray, Everett Silvertips, Stuart Percy, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, Matthew Petgrave, Owen Sound Attack, Mark Pysyk, Edmonton Oil Kings, Duncan Siemens, Saskatoon Blades

Michael Bournival, Shawinigan Cataractes, Brett Connolly, Prince George Cougars, Sean Couturier, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Phillip Danault, Victoriaville Tigres, Brendan Gallagher, Vancouver Giants
Freddie Hamilton, Niagara IceDogs, Patrick Holland, Tri-City Americans, Quinton Howden, Moose Jaw Warriors, Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John Sea Dogs, Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals, Ryan Johansen, Portland Winterhawks, Lucas Lessio, Oshawa Generals, Greg McKegg, Erie Otters, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels, Matthew Puempel, Peterborough Petes, Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks, Brett Ritchie, Sarnia Sting, Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts, Michael Sgarbossa, Sudbury Wolves, Devante Smith-Pelly, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, Ryan Spooner, Kingston Frontenacs, Mark Stone, Brandon Wheat Kings
Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs, Christian Thomas, Oshawa Generals, Tyler Toffoli, Ottawa 67's

OHL Breakdown: 2 Goaltenders, 7 Defenceman and 13 forwards. 22 of the 44 players attending the WJHC Camp are from the OHL. Dominance much?

Yay or Nay?

Mark Visentin, Niagara IceDogs – if you are new to ITO then you do not know that I am in love with this kid and his goaltending abilities. What started off as a mockery of bet at the CHL Top Prospects game has turned into a hate-hate relationship between Mark and I. But no matter what we personally agree or disagree on, this kid will be the starter yet again for Team Canada in December. And I do want to point out that last year when he was labeled the ‘backup’ I was yelling and screaming the whole time that he should have started the tournament. Game set and match, Brandon.
Scott Wedgewood, Plymouth Whalers – Unfortunately for Scott he has been playing in the shadows of phenomenal goaltending as he has come up through the years. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride for Scott and I have been yelling again, since day one that this kid needs more attention. Best kept secret in the OHL… despite Ryan Strome undressing him in that YouTube video. I know Scott is working hard to finally get a chance to wear the Red and White and I don’t see why this year he couldn’t make the roster.
Cody Ceci, Ottawa 67’s – since seeing him for the first time two seasons ago, I keep forgetting that Cody is not a veteran, but man does he play like one. He is 2012 NHL draft eligible and he has already just wowed me with his style of play. He has definitely come up through the HC PoE and I see that trend continuing here. At 6’2” and a staggering 205lbs there is nothing that will get in his way, not even some veterans to this team.
Erik Gudbranson, Kingston Frontenacs – what a past 12 months for Erik. Getting drafted, just missing the ability to sign with the FLA Panthers over an amount of money as low as $15,000 on the contract, forgetting how to play hockey, a suspension here and there, a team meltdown that gets him stripped of his ‘A’, another suspension and overall sucking in your game… and yet he still gets an invite to this years camp. Unlike last season when he made Team Canada, this year, the Florida Panthers will have him signed and he will not be allowed to go. End of story.
Dougie Hamilton, Niagara IceDogs – I am conflicted with Dougie here, not because of his ability or skill set. He will make Team Canada based on those qualities right there. He has the skill and size to make it, and his 9th overall drafting in this years NHL Entry Draft proves he can play the game. But I am conflicted on whether or not he will be back in the OHL this season. Something tells me that he could stay with the Boston Bruins… Defenceman do take longer to develop than forwards, and it could hurt him to be there at a really young age… then again for Drew Doughty it didn’t hurt him and Dougie has size and build on him already. If Dougie puts on the pounds he could make BOS and if he does, he will not make Team Canada. If he is back in Niagara. Then he does not get the Christmas break off.
Scott Harrington, London Knights – here is my mandatory, I am a huge fan of the London Knights speech, and I am. I don’t care if I am media and I am supposed to be unbiased. I cant help it. But in this case, I can not see any scenario where Harrington will make Team Canada. He had a… well not awful year, but a very underwhelming draft year. Unless he comes out firing out of the gate and can carry the momentum this year in London… then he will be at home watching like the rest of us. And that is tough for me to say… you know, since I am a London Knights fan.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers – So here is a kid who is left off the U18 roster for the Ivan Hlinka because he can not play defence. When the Rangers get knocked out of the playoffs he plays for the U18 team at the Worlds, despite him not being able to play defence. And then he gets drafted 12th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes even though he can not play defence? Has everyone dropped that notion by now? No? ok fine, maybe he can not play D, but he will play for Team Canada.
Stuart Percy, Mississauga Majors – Now a lot of you will be saying who? Stuart Percy… selected 25th by the Toronto Maple Leafs… a solid, stay at home defenceman who has wowed a lot of people this year into not only becoming a Top Prospect, but a first round draft pick. He may not possess bone crushing hits, or a big frame that may scare the opposition. But this kid knows his angles and knows how to play D. if him  and Murphy played together, would it make them the Odd Couple? He is wearing the maple leaf come Christmas.
Matt Petgrave, Owen Sound Attack – here is your recipient of a fantastic team season where he got loads of PP time and worked well in a system invitee… I am not trying to take anything away from Matt Petgrave but his invite is the result of the Owen Sound Attack coming from off the map to become the OHL Champions this year. The buck stops here Matt… but hey this will give you the time to reload your iPod… I hear Beyonce has a new album out.
Freddie Hamilton, Niagara IceDogs – the man with the Brows… or Brow. Depending in what light you are looking at him. Freddie has shown he is a pure sniper. What many didn’t know about him, is that he is a pretty complete player. And this year his stock rose immensely, thanks in part because of a teammate of his who I will get to later. It would be good to take them both on the team, but with the Head Coach being Don Hay from the WHL. This Hamilton may be in Calgary during the Christmas break… but he will be watching his brother.
Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals – ‘are they yelling boooo? Or Boooooone?’ In the case of Mr. Burns the crowd was chanting BOO! But in Jenner's case, BOOOOOONNNNEEEE! Will this get him onto the team though? No sadly it will not.  A great talent who next season in the OHL will be a breakout star but with a lot of potential for veterans on the team, he will be a victim to the numbers game. Has played in HC PoE at every level and he will wear the Maple Leaf at the U20 soon. But not this year.
Lucas Lessio, Oshawa Generals – I love this kid, I love how he plays, love how he jokes, and I love how the crowd in Niagara hate him sooooooo much. Seriously though, this kid has not grown into his skill yet. Plays a much bigger game than his stature suggests and even though his stats did not set the world on fire, he was on a veteran team who clawed for every second they got to play. This season will be different but he will have to wait until the season after next to play for the red and white.
Greg McKegg, Erie Otters – The Pirate Captain himself, who was cut from last years team even though he was leading in Goals at the time. He finished the year strong and can provide a lot to this Team Canada team. I would look for him in a 3rd/4th line role, like Stefan Della Rovere was for Team Canada a few years ago. He makes the team hands down.
Matt Puempel, Peterborough Petes – Maybe it is because he doesn’t play NHL 11, no seriously, he is not a gamer at all. But Puempel has grown on me. He didn’t set the world on fire in his sophomore season like he did in his rookie campaign but the kid has gotten physically stronger. He lost the end of the year due to hip surgery but I am assured that he is stronger than before in his lower body. But I still don’t believe he never meant to shoot the puck at me back in October… he already wears maroon and white, and maroon is a darker red. Easy decision here.
Brett Ritchie, Sarnia Sting – Not every OHLer can make this team and here is one that I am very undecided on. A big, strong winger that is built like, and plays like he should be in the WHL, that is… if you want to stereotype leagues and players like that. since it is a coach from the WHL, I am inclined to say he will be one of the last players cut, or be a 13th forward.
Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts – a talented kid who put up numbers beyond expectations for a very weak Barrie Colts team. If he put up numbers like this on Mississauga, or another high offence team, there would be suspicion. In this case, was he deserving of 7th overall and the future face of the Winnipeg Jets? Time will tell (I say yes). He can move, he can shoot, and he learned how to be a better defensive forward this year. Mark will get a long look, but it may not be this season he gets the nod and that is only because of the centreman who I will discuss soon.
Michael Sgarbossa, Sudbury Wolves – Wow this is a tough call, much like Scheifele, once he fell in Sudbury he made the most of his situation including carrying the entire team on his back. Ok not the entire team, because Marcus Foligno was carrying the other half of the team. But it was insane to see the difference in his game once he moved to Sudbury from Saginaw. In 26 games for the Spirit, 7G-13A-20Pts. In 37 games for Sudbury 29G-33A-62pts… Did he play more in the Bury? Definitely… but did he play with the same offensive type talent that Saginaw stockpiled? Definitely not. This kid has something in him, he didn’t get drafted the second time around, but his NHL invites will be interesting. A long look, but too one dimensional for my likes.
Devante Smith-Pelly, Mississauga Majors – what do I not like about this guy? Nothing. I love everything that he brings to the table. You want a tough mucker grinder who has the softest hands in the world who will get you those surprise goals that can turn the tournament in your favour. Then take DSP. Otherwise he will be sitting at home. I think it would be a shame to see him sitting at home, but he is similar to Ritchie, and Ritchie is a little lighter on his feet. Sorry DSP.
Ryan Spooner, Kingston Frontenacs – I know he has talent and skill and has played at the U17 and U18 tournament… but I just don’t realistically see him at this tournament wearing the Maple Leaf. Maybe it is something about his haircut, I don’t know. If he is a hot commodity heading into December, then I will be eating my words. Right now, I don’t see it.
Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs – SEE YOUTUBE. That is all I practically have to say. What else do you need to know? Tremendous vision, raised the stock of every player on the IceDogs by constantly feeding them easy goals after he did the hard work. Can skate with the pact and can dangle more than… Steve Dangle himself (although I have never seen Steve dangle, I assume he can with a name like that). Here is your, ‘must cry foul’ if Strome does not make Team Canada this Christmas.
Christian Thomas, Oshawa Generals – Here is one that many people, myself included, screamed to be on Team Canada this past tournament. Granted the team basically had muckers and grinders and here is a kid who had tremendous offensive talent, 54 goals to end the season, who is a speedy little guy too. Christian will not be denied this year otherwise I believe the Oshawa twitterverse will explode.
Tyler Toffoli, Ottawa 67’s – Speaking of crying foul, here is your OHL Goal Scoring leader for this past season. 57 tough love goals and he is cut from Team Canada. I don’t know who he ticked off, maybe it is just his size that people will dismiss him at. He has picked up his skating ability, one of the hardest shots in the league. And has had to battle a few things that you would not believe. Tough kid with character and of course, the Midas touch to goal scoring. I say yes… but I think Don Hay will say no.

FINALLY! That is all 22 OHLers and my personal opinion on whether or not they have a shot at making Team Canada during Christmas. 10 of the 22 I believe will make it, with 2 yes, but the NHL will decide. So I say a total of 12 OHLers could be on Team Canada this upcoming holiday season. And what would that mean? Another dominant effort by the greatest Major Junior league in the World. Hands down the OHL rules and by proxy, I rule because I cover the league!

Comments :

3 comments to “Team Canada U20 (WJHC) CHL Invite Roster”
Anonymous said...

Scarbossa has already signed with SJ:

Anonymous said...

Boston GM has already said the Dougie is a year or two away... No way he makes the Bruins this season. He will be in Niagara for sure.

Anonymous said...

One of the most uninformed blogs I have read in some time. Not up to the usual standard of this site- the regular contributors must be on their summer vacation. Who wrote this one? Sounds a little like BS....

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