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.
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|
|Zachary Fucale||L/G||6'1"||176||5/28/1995||Rosemre, Que./Qc||Halifax (QMJHL)||MTL '13 (2, 36)|
|Jake Paterson||L/G||6'0"||185||5/3/1994||Mississauga, Ont.||Saginaw (OHL)||DET '12 (3, 80)|
|Chris Bigras||L/G||6'0.5"||189||2/22/1995||Woodland Beach, Ont.||Owen Sound (OHL)||COL '13 (2, 32)|
|Mathew Dumba||R/D||6'0"||183||7/25/1994||Calgary, Alta./Alb.||Minnesota (NHL)||MIN '12 (1, 7)|
|Aaron Ekblad||R/D||6'3.5"||216||2/7/1996||Belle River, Ont.||Barrie (OHL)||2014 Dft/Rep.|
|Josh Morrissey||L/G||6'0"||184||3/28/1995||Calgary, Alta./Alb.||Prince Albert (WHL)||WPG '13 (1, 13)|
|Adam PelechÊ||L/G||6'2"||215||8/16/1994||Toronto, Ont.||Erie (OHL)||NYI '12 (3, 65)|
|Derrick Pouliot||L/G||6'0"||203||1/16/1994||Weyburn, Sask.||Portland (WHL)||PIT '12 (1, 8)|
|Griffin Reinhart||L/G||6'3.5"||212||1/24/1994||West Vancouver, B.C./C.-B.||Edmonton (WHL)||NYI '12 (1, 4)|
|Damon Severson||R/D||6'2"||198||8/7/1994||Melville, Sask.||Kelowna (WHL)||NJ '12 (2, 60)|
|Josh Anderson||R/D||6'2"||199||5/7/1994||Burlington, Ont.||London (OHL)||CBJ '12 (4, 95)|
|Jonathan Drouin||L/G||5'11"||185||3/28/1995||Huberdeau, Que./Qc||Halifax (QMJHL)||TB '13 (1, 3)|
|Frdrik Gauthier||L/G||6'4"||215||4/26/1995||Mascouche, Que./Qc||Rimouski (QMJHL)||TOR '13 (1, 21)|
|Flix Girard||R/D||5'11"||190||5/9/1994||Lvis, Que./Qc||Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)||NSH '13 (4, 95)|
|Bo Horvat||L/G||6'0"||203||4/5/1995||Rodney, Ont.||London (OHL)||VAN '13 (1, 9)|
|Charles Hudon||L/G||5'10,5"||175||6/23/1994||Boisbriand, Que./Qc||Chicoutimi (QMJHL)||MTL '12 (5, 122)|
|Scott Laughton||L/G||6'1"||190||5/30/1994||Oakville, Ont.||Oshawa (OHL)||PHI '12 (1, 20)|
|Curtis Lazar||R/D||6'0"||198||2/2/1995||Vernon, B.C./C.-B.||Edmonton (WHL)||OTT '13 (1, 17)|
|Taylor Leier||L/G||5'11"||177||2/15/1994||Saskatoon, Sask.||Portland (WHL)||PHI '12 (4, 117)|
|Anthony Mantha||L/G||6'5"||204||9/16/1994||Longueuil, Que./Qc||Val-d'Or (QMJHL)||DET '13 (1, 20)|
|Connor McDavid||L/G||6'0"||182||1/13/1997||Newmarket, Ont.||Erie (OHL)||2015 Dft/Rep|
|Nic Petan||L/G||5'9"||166||3/22/1995||Delta, B.C./C.-B.||Portland (WHL)||WPG '13 (2, 43)|
|Sam Reinhart||R/D||6'1"||183||11/6/1995||West Vancouver, B.C./C.-B.||Kootenay (WHL)||2014 Dft/Rep.|
|Kerby Rychel||L/G||6'1"||205||10/7/1994||Tecumseh, Ont.||Windsor (OHL)||CBJ '13 (1, 19)|
|Hunter Shinkaruk||L/G||5'10.5"||181||10/13/1994||Calgary, Alta./Alb.||Medicine Hat (WHL)||VAN '13 (1, 24)|
- Last night’s Game in 10 – Nik is kind to the team after busting the slump.
- Smith making the most of an opportunity – Picture the Leafs’ center situation now, and image it if he wasn’t.
- Randy Carlyle Post Game Presser – “We’re 15th in man games lost. 15 teams have it worse than us.”
- Game in 6 Highlights – Nazty.
- James Mirtle’s game story – focus on Bernier, Smith and Kadri, naturally.
- Kadri has an optimistic road ahead – Great opportunity for Naz to grab the 1C role and run with it. Bozak is out for an “extended period.”