Hockey Canada announced their final round of roster cuts on Sunday for the 2016 World Junior Championship, following a 1-0 exhibition game win over the Czech Republic.
The win went to goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who was named player of the game as well. He will miss the first two games of the World Junior Championship serving the tail end of the an eight-game suspension from OHL play.
The lone goal went to San Jose Sharks prospect Rourke Chartier, with assists to Anthony Beauvillier and Julien Gauthier. All of three of them will be headed to Helsinki for the tournament.
The team features four players returning from last year’s squad, defenseman Joe Hicketts, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen, 2015 Florida Panthers draft pick Lawson Crouse and forward Brayden Point, who should be a pivotal palyer for the team.
That leaves 18-year-old Julien Gauthier as the team’s lone 2016 draft-eligible player. It’s almost becoming a hallmark of the Canadian roster to have a draft eligible in there.
Their single draft-eligible player is in stark contrast to the American roster, where the top line is projected to be comprised entirely of draft-eligible players (Auston Matthews, Matthew Tkachuk, Alex DeBrincat).
The Canadian roster features seven 2015 1st round draft picks and just a single right-handed defenseman in Hurricanes prospect Roland McKeown. They have some serious firepower up front with Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner and Flyers prospect Travis Konecny, who impressed in Canada’s two exhibition games so far. They’ve also got some strong role players with power forward Virtanen and depth forward Mitchell Stephens impressing so far.
In net, Montembeault, who wasn’t invited to camp initially, impressed during selection camp and may have played well enough to work himself into some playing time during the tournament, at least during the first two games while Blackwood serves his suspension.
That will be the final lineup with Elliotte Friedman reporting during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Sportsnet that the “thin shred of hope” the team would get Robby Fabbri from the St. Louis Blues is now gone.
The above roster means that Hockey Canada has cut Brandon Wheat Kings forward Jayce Hawryluk (Florida Panthers, 2014), Everett Silvertips defenseman Noah Juulsen (Montreal Canadiens, 2015), Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defenseman Jeremy Lauzon (Boston Bruins, 2015) and Kelowna Rockets forward Nick Merkley (Arizona Coyotes, 2015). Hawryluk is only one among those four cuts who will age out and be ineligible to attend camp for a shot at the team next year, when the tournament is held in Canada.
Those cuts, in addition to the four cut last week, finalize the roster Canada will field in Helsinki when the tournament kicks off on December 26.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.