Leafs and the World Juniors: First Thoughts

Leafs and the World Juniors: First Thoughts

Team Canada has effectively named their roster for the World Junior Championships to take place in Malmo Sweden starting on Boxing Day.  Having had a little bit of time to digest their decisions from a Leafs perspective, here are some of my thoughts.

No Matt Finn

The biggest surprise on Team Canada’s roster from a Leafs perspective is Matt Finn’s omission.  Finn is an all-situations defenseman whose biggest weakness in his game is probably his physicality – an element which is considerably less important on International ice.  I’m surprised he didn’t make the team (almost as surprised as I was when I heard Nurse was left at home) but the truth of the matter is, Canada has a deep team and Finn, even in my mind, was probably only 60-40 to make the team.

Gauthier Yes, Brown No

If you look purely at the statistical side of our prospects, the idea of bringing Gauthier over Connor Brown is a little confounding.  Again, I feel that the International ice was at play here.  Brown may have the better hands of the two but Gauthier is a stronger skater and is also better equipped to play a defensive role with the team.  Team Canada rarely takes an All-Star team to these events and instead opts to take players to fill very specific roles.  I’m sure filling the checking role with a youngster with a mature defensive game was a motive here.

Rielly?

Apparently the Leafs have informed Team Canada that Morgan Rielly will be released to play with the National Squad if he isn’t playing regularly with the Leafs at the time of the tournament (December 19 cut off). Trying to predict how Randy Carlyle will deploy his players is a fool’s errand as far as I’m concerned so I won’t even hazard a guess, but it wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all to see Rielly playing 20 minutes a game in this tourney; helping lead the Canadian team while gaining confidence and feeling good about himself after going in and out of the press box with the Leafs wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen.  Rielly’s skating on the big rink would be a thing to behold, and there’s little doubt that he would be one of the primary options on the blueline for the team in the event that he’s released.

2014 Team Canada Roster

Name
S/C
Ht.
Wt.
Born
Hometown
Club Team
Pro Status

Goaltenders

Zachary FucaleL/G6'1"1765/28/1995Rosemre, Que./QcHalifax (QMJHL)MTL '13 (2, 36)
Jake PatersonL/G6'0"1855/3/1994Mississauga, Ont.Saginaw (OHL)DET '12 (3, 80)

Defence

Chris BigrasL/G6'0.5"1892/22/1995Woodland Beach, Ont.Owen Sound (OHL)COL '13 (2, 32)
Mathew DumbaR/D6'0"1837/25/1994Calgary, Alta./Alb.Minnesota (NHL)MIN '12 (1, 7)
Aaron EkbladR/D6'3.5"2162/7/1996Belle River, Ont.Barrie (OHL)2014 Dft/Rep.
Josh MorrisseyL/G6'0"1843/28/1995Calgary, Alta./Alb.Prince Albert (WHL)WPG '13 (1, 13)
Adam PelechÊL/G6'2"2158/16/1994Toronto, Ont.Erie (OHL)NYI '12 (3, 65)
Derrick PouliotL/G6'0"2031/16/1994Weyburn, Sask.Portland (WHL)PIT '12 (1, 8)
Griffin ReinhartL/G6'3.5"2121/24/1994West Vancouver, B.C./C.-B.Edmonton (WHL)NYI '12 (1, 4)
Damon SeversonR/D6'2"1988/7/1994Melville, Sask.Kelowna (WHL)NJ '12 (2, 60)

Forwards

Josh AndersonR/D6'2"1995/7/1994Burlington, Ont.London (OHL)CBJ '12 (4, 95)
Jonathan DrouinL/G5'11"1853/28/1995Huberdeau, Que./QcHalifax (QMJHL)TB '13 (1, 3)
FrŽdŽrik GauthierL/G6'4"2154/26/1995Mascouche, Que./QcRimouski (QMJHL)TOR '13 (1, 21)
FŽlix GirardR/D5'11"1905/9/1994LŽvis, Que./QcBaie-Comeau (QMJHL)NSH '13 (4, 95)
Bo HorvatL/G6'0"2034/5/1995Rodney, Ont.London (OHL)VAN '13 (1, 9)
Charles HudonL/G5'10,5"1756/23/1994Boisbriand, Que./QcChicoutimi (QMJHL)MTL '12 (5, 122)
Scott LaughtonL/G6'1"1905/30/1994Oakville, Ont.Oshawa (OHL)PHI '12 (1, 20)
Curtis LazarR/D6'0"1982/2/1995Vernon, B.C./C.-B.Edmonton (WHL)OTT '13 (1, 17)
Taylor LeierL/G5'11"1772/15/1994Saskatoon, Sask.Portland (WHL)PHI '12 (4, 117)
Anthony ManthaL/G6'5"2049/16/1994Longueuil, Que./QcVal-d'Or (QMJHL)DET '13 (1, 20)
Connor McDavidL/G6'0"1821/13/1997Newmarket, Ont.Erie (OHL)2015 Dft/Rep
Nic PetanL/G5'9"1663/22/1995Delta, B.C./C.-B.Portland (WHL)WPG '13 (2, 43)
Sam ReinhartR/D6'1"18311/6/1995West Vancouver, B.C./C.-B.Kootenay (WHL)2014 Dft/Rep.
Kerby RychelL/G6'1"20510/7/1994Tecumseh, Ont.Windsor (OHL)CBJ '13 (1, 19)
Hunter ShinkarukL/G5'10.5"18110/13/1994Calgary, Alta./Alb.Medicine Hat (WHL)VAN '13 (1, 24)

***

Links:

SIMILAR ARTICLES

765 comments
Bring the Cup Home
Bring the Cup Home

i'm hoping liles looks good at moving the puck up ice and also looks responsible in his own end.  nothing spectacular, just looks solid.  if he does, and they play him for a game or three i think they'll send rielly to the WJC.  that's exactly what i want to see happen. 

JR from Halifax
JR from Halifax

Busy day so I am just getting on the site to see what the chatter is.....I see we have a new Fenton

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Rielly's tied for 11th-worst plus-minus in the league at -11.

ingy56
ingy56

What's new today folks? Anyone traded, fired , demoted etc? 

Dink
Dink

So far this year.


Kessel B+ 

JVR B

Lupul C

Kadri C

Clarkson D

Kule D-

Raymond B-

McClement C+

Bozak F

Orr D-

McLaren D-

Smith C+


Bernier  A-

Riemer A-

Dion A

Rielly C

Gunnar C

Fraser D

Ranger C

Franson D-

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

Mean while acordin to Sun news a town has banned ice/pond hockey the f ers 

UNBELIEVABLE! Pond hockey dreams have been iced by an Alberta town council because they think the Canadian past-time is unsafe: http://bit.ly/1gcp68V

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

So far this year.

Kessel  and JVR A

Lupul B

Kadri B

Clarkson C-

Kule C-

Raymond A-

McC  B

Bozak

C

Orr C-

FML  F

Holland - too early

Smith B


Bernier  A

Riemer A

Dion A

Rielly B-

Gunnar B

Fraser D

Ranger F

Franson C-


Grades based on skill and possible upsidee rather than against each other

NotSince67
NotSince67

Also in Mississauga Cater Verhaeghe comes to town with a prospect laden Niagara team.

NotSince67
NotSince67

Let me pose it to you this way, if the 4th line were the issue, we'd have another 55 minutes of solid play to draw from. People who rant and score about OMG ORR AND MCLAREN ARE DRESSED AGAIN like to think they're smarter than NHL coaches, but are failing to really identify issues objectively.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

Seth Jones is also -11.. and he is a total defensive stud.. according to all.. playing on a better defensively minded team..... so all relative

Dink
Dink

Gardiner C+

ingy56
ingy56

@Leafs rule It's outrageous! What kind of a nanny state do we live in whereby kids can't venture out onto thin ice and play the national sport?  Kids these days are far too coddled. 

4evrblue
4evrblue

Not sure how the streaky Raymond gets an A-

Solid B-, nothing wrong with that IMO

Black_Hawk
Black_Hawk

@CanuckUKinToronto i would rate raymond lower. I hate his game even though he has out done my expectations from when he was a canuck. 

NotSince67
NotSince67

@Gilbey93 Expexctactions are too high on Kulie. Does so many great things, I'd love to have him on my team any day once he fires his agent and lets me talk him into signing for 1.5m

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

Well Dion is playing much better this year as not gassed and not playing as many minutes.. What about limiting your weaker 3rd line guys?  Is it ny surprise that our pk is worse// McC taking more EV penalties as he is getting maybe too many mins comensating?   So if 4th line could play proper mins, maybe all lines play better in the right situations

jimmyg65
jimmyg65

@NotSince67 But like I said earlier, winning NHL coaches DON'T have fourth lines that only play four minutes. The Leafs are one of the only teams doing this. It does make a difference. A good fourth line can bring so much more to a team than our fourth line does, including scoring the odd goal. Look at SJ, LA, Chicago, St Louis, Boston, etc. 

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

@NotSince67 It would be nice if the Leafs had more toughness in the top 9.  But playing pure facepunchers who cannot compete at an NHL level on the 4th line just doesn't compensate.

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

@NotSince67  Well they are going to win us many games no, but they can lose us games, see SJS :)

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

Not me ,doent know much But I loves my leafs lol

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Popeye's kid's av. 23 mins a games as well. There's lots of big names in the -11 group, including Ovie and RNH.

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

right on ingy ,outrageous,leftist crap imo

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Insurance company state.

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@ingy56 @Leafs rule QFT.....can't even bring a hockey or lacrosse stick to school anymore to play around with at lunchtime........I actually got a phone call from the school a few years ago because of this.   What a rude awakening it will be when these kids have to function in the real world.....

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

For $1m and what was expected from a PTO!!!!  that is an A-

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

I gave those based on upside and prior .. Ranger was already a top 4 D man playing 25 min per game... he started like a 7 D man with many errors.. that is why.  Rielly had made many errors and will continue to do so.. but never played in the NHL .. he has cost us games.. based on expectations and skill B-   Did you expect him to dominate in the areas where he does, and show what he shows?  Same as did you expect him to not get burned by top 6 NHL skilled forwards? 

NotSince67
NotSince67

@jimmyg65 @NotSince67 I think Carlyle has aring to prove he's a winning coach, and that team had Travis Moen, Brad May at the end of his career, and George Parros.

NotSince67
NotSince67

@MaxwellHowe @NotSince67 Agreed but top 9 players who can fight and win against ANYONE are rare (Lucic is the only one who can truly handle himself vs anoyone), and only a handful can defend themselves against a tough opponent. 

Having said that it's a tough night  in this league if you don't have someone who can answer to the toughest guy on the other team. Guys like Clarkson will take the inch and run a mile with it, let alone guys like Torres and Burrows.

NotSince67
NotSince67

@Mind Bomb @NotSince67 And I think we all know he made a big blunder there. Just as MArk Fraser did. AGET THE FUCKING PUCK OUT. If ya ice it, sit on your hands and catch your breath while waiting for the draw. IT still beats running around without a 10-15 second breather.

NotSince67
NotSince67

@Mind Bomb @NotSince67 Why does everyone give Rielly a free pass? Everyone in hockey seems to be pointing the finger at him but of course Toronto hockey fans keep their fingers continuously pointed at one whipping boy...

Like I said, just like Belak. People wanted him gone, he left, and then the compain was the team was getting bullied and was too small.. welllll *facepalm*

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

Ic ,im outa here for awhile see you all tomorrow

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

I am a massive Leafs fan.. only critical where I think things need to be addressed so we all get what we want.. a Cup dynasty team

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I've seen it creep in over the years in different jurisdictions and in most cases it's because of lawsuits resulting from a kid getting hurt. Insurance companies come back on the school board or municipality wanting to quadruple their rates, which are substantial, the cost of which is a tax hike.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

Gardiner I give a C+  He has improved defensively and found how to play the man more effectively but has lost the extra special skills that made his offensive game unique.. once he finds that I would think he would go to a B

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

I rushed on it before I went to pick up my kid from school.. yes it was based on overall expectations.. including what we pay, prior experience, and what we hoped.. that was why I gave Raymond that.. and Rielly.. I just had more expectation from Ranger.. I agree.. maybe he is a D and not a F.. exp the last 5-8 games.. he has played as a C+  so brought it up

4evrblue
4evrblue

well you should have stated your criteria. All things considered yes you're right but otherwise it's a bullshit grade

4evrblue
4evrblue

actually surprised by how little heat Clarkson has taken so far. Dude needs to produce

NotSince67
NotSince67

@Gilbey93 @NotSince67 I don't care about goals. Not with Kulie. He does enough that 12-15 should be sufficient for him.

He doesn't lose battles, consistently knocks guys off pucks, and can't be taken off the puck. Haven't been able to say that of too many Leafs.

NotSince67
NotSince67

@jimmyg65 Look at how tough that back end was too, Pronger, Beachemin, Kent Huskins, and that's just off the top of my head.

NotSince67
NotSince67

@Mind Bomb @NotSince67 TBH, all the complaining about the 4th line reminds me of Snatch where the door falls off the caravan and he jokes the Caravan in great, he's just not sure about the colour.


If the TML were a totaled car, complaining about FML and Orr is like getting fixated on the ugly colour instead of your now busted ass car.

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

@NotSince67 @Mind Bomb Well thats a beef I have with Nonis, he is not using the Rehab stint in the AHL for our injured players, Sending FMl and Fraser down for a condition stretch, especailly fraser


NotSince67
NotSince67

@Mind Bomb @NotSince67 I know. It's gotta be tough though, he's already of a "sub-par skill set" and instead of getting 10 minutes a night in preseason, he's rehabbing with a broken finger, and draws in cold as shit with guys up to speed already. The deck was stacked against him to start with.

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

@NotSince67 @Mind Bomb Its plays like that Suicide pass to Smithson the other night, then he jumps the guy for laying a clean hit he caused and takes a stupid penalty,

NotSince67
NotSince67

@Mind Bomb @NotSince67 Like I said, he's worse this than last, and he missed ALL of camp minus day one and half of day two and the first 2-3 weeks of the regular season.

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

@NotSince67 @Mind Bomb Dude I am pro Fighting I take Karate and Ju-Jitsu, I do it for Fun, I am on your team, I would have ORR on it, just not FML I dont like his overall game