Hockey Canada announced their Selection Camp Roster for the 2016 World Junior Championship on Tuesday.
The team is full of some notables, some 2016 draft eligibles and a few notable omissions.
Here’s the full breakdown of the roster:
The team is fielding three 2016 draft eligibles, including defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who is expected to be one of the the draft’s top picks.
One surprise to some may be Mitchell Stephens, the 18-year-old Saginaw winger who has five goals and an assist through seven games this season. He has been out of the roster with an injury for a while now, but is expected to return to the lineup on Friday, according to The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy.
Last season Stephens put up 22 goals and 26 assists through 62 games. He’s a good player and worthy of his second round status and his injury won’t prevent him from getting a good shot at the Canadian roster.
Though from the outside, if you’re not look as much at roster construction maybe and at individual talents, he and a few others may been seen as surprising picks over a guy like Josh Ho-Sang, who may be the most notable omission here.
Ho-Sang has eight goals and 26 assists through 25 games for the Niagara IceDogs and finished last season with 17 goals and 64 assists through 60 games, which included a slow, contentious start to the year with the Windsor Spitfires. His personality no doubt played a role in his absence from the roster, as he’s had memorable things to say about Hockey Canada in the past. Though he was said to have come to camp over the summer with a new attitude and made an effort to do the things Hockey Canada was looking for from him.
Though it will be talked about, his attitude isn’t necessarily the driving factor for his exclusion though. While he’s an exceptional offensive talent, he does have issues in his own zone, noted by many scouts, and his lack of defensive prowess is likely a contributing factor here. His game could limit the number of roles available to him on a team this stacked with talent. He’s not a likely to be a go-to penalty killer or a part of a shut-down line, meaning he’d have to fit into a very specific role on the team, which limits the number of spots he could take.
Other notable omissions include Conner Bleackley and Jake DeBrusk, both of whom are in their final year of eligibility for the U20 tournament.
The camp will feature two NCAA players, including Providence defenseman Jake Walman who holds a passport for both the U.S. and Canada. Walman had initially intended to play for the U.S., even attending camp with them, but the IIHF ruled this week that Walman is not eligible to play for the U.S. team, as first reported by Bob McKenzie. The USA Hockey filed an appeal with the IIHF, but the IIHF upheld their ruling.
The conflict there was that he needs to have played two consecutive seasons of hockey in the country to be eligible. He’s technically in the middle of his second season in the U.S. His inclusion at camp for Hockey Canada following the IIHF ruling was not guaranteed, even though the offensive-minded defenseman is having a very good year for Providence.
Another surprise is that the camp will only feature two goaltenders, which means that the goaltenders have been selected and the only thing to determine at this point is who the starter is.
Canada’s WJC Selection Camp will be held in Etobicoke, Ontario from December 10 to 14 and the tournament will start December 26 in Helsinki, Finland
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.