Canada Hockey announced today that 39 players will be invited to try out at Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, December 12-15, 2010 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
17 of the 39 players invited, are currently playing in the Western Hockey League. 11 forwards, 5 defencemen and 1 goalie were invited from the WHL.
Carter Ashton, Brett Connolly, Cody Eakin, Brendan Gallagher, Curtis Hamilton, Quinton Howden, Ryan Howse, Ryan Johansen, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brad Ross and Linden Vey were the forwards invited out of the Western Hockey League.
With the WHL getting 11 of the 23 forward invites, I have picked a select 5 players that I think will make the World Junior team.
Linden Vey a native of Wakaw, Saskatchewan is currently in his 4th season with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He is currently leading the WHL in points, with 18 goals and 29 assists, combining for 47 points in 24 games. Vey is a 6’0”, 181 lbs centre, that was drafted 96th overall by the LA Kings in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Vey is known for playing a solid way game, being reliable offensivly and defensively.
Ryan Johansen a native of Part Moody, British Columbia is currently in his 2nd season with the Portland Winterhawks. He is a huge reason why the Winterhawks are currently 1st in the WHL standings. Johansen is a 6’3”, 196 lbs centre, that plays alongside Nino Niederreiter and Brad Ross on the Winterhawks 1st line. Johansen uses his big frame to out muscle opponents in puck battles and screen opposing goaltenders on the power-play. These attributes are why the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Johansen 4th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
Brett Connolly a native of Campbell River, British Columbia is currently in his 3rd season with the Prince George Cougars. He had a injury riddled season last year, but appears to be healthy this year. Connolly has played 26 games this year with Cougars, in those games he’s racked up 20 goals and 13 assists, combining for 33 points on the year. Connolly is a 6’2”, 203 lbs right winger, that plays a power-forward style of game. The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Connolly 6th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
Curtis Hamilton a native of Kelowna, British Columbia is currently in his 4th season with the Saskatoon Blades. Hamilton has been on fire this year, putting up 15 goals and 21 assists, combining for 36 points in 25 games. He’s played a solid defensive game as well, maintaining a plus/minus of +27 and playing a key role on the Blades penalty kill. The Edmonton Oilers selected the 6’3”, 206 lbs left winger 48th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
Cody Eakin a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba is currently in his 4th season with the Swift Current Broncos. Eakin is a 6’0”, 189 lbs centre, that plays a huge offensive role for the Broncos. He’s put up 12 goals and 15 assists, combining for 27 points in 24 games this year. Eakin is a very faster skater, that makes it hard for defenders to contain him. The Washington Capitals drafted Eakin 85th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
Tyson Barrie, Jared Cowen, Brayden McNabb, Ryan Murray and Mark Pysyk are the defensemen from the WHL that were invited to try out for the 2011 World Junior team.
With the WHL getting 5 of the 12 defensemen invites, I have picked a select 2 players that I think will make the World Junior team.
Jared Cowen a native of Allan, Saskatchewan is currently in his 4th season with the Spokane Chiefs. Cowen is a 6’5”, 220 lbs defensemen, that plays a solid shut-down game. Cowen has also contributed offensively this season, putting up 7 goals and 12 assists, combining for 19 points in 22 games. The Ottawa Senators drafted Cowen 9th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
Tyson Barrie a native of Victoria, British Columbia is currently in his 4th season with Kelowna Rockets. Barrie is a 5’10”, 191 lbs defensemen, that’s known for his offensive game. He’s a very a smoother skater, and a power-play specialist. Barrie has been on fire offensivly this year. He’s put up 4 goals and 18 assists, combining for 22 points in 18 games this season. The Colorado Avalanche drafted Barrie 64th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
Calvin Pickard is the only goalie from the WHL, that has been invited to try out for the World Juniors.
Calvin Pickard a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba is currently in his 3rd season with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Pickard has been one of the elite goalies in the Western Hockey League this season. He’s sutied up for 23 games this year, maintaining a .930 save percentage and a 2.64 Goals Against Average. The Colorado Avalanche drafted Pickard 49th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft.
With 17 WHL players receiving invites, the West will definitely be represented at the 2011 World Juniors in Buffalo.
CHL writer for The Hockey Writers. Follow me on twitter @kellyFriesen