Follow me on Twitter @LukasHardonk for more Maple Leafs coverage.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to produce international hockey talent.
Maple Leafs defensemen Luke Schenn and captain Dion Phaneuf will be heading to the World Championships, along with their fellow teammate, goalie James Reimer.
“It’s an honour to be invited and to have that opportunity to represent Canada,” Phaneuf said. “Last time I was there it was in Moscow (in 2007) and we won. It was a lot of fun to be part of that tournament. I’m looking forward to going over there and trying to win a gold medal.”
Phaneuf, 22 at the time, registered eight assists in seven games in that tournament. This season, the Leafs captain recorded eight goals and 22 assists in 66 games; much of that production came in the second half of the season.
Forward Clarke MacArthur could end up joining the team in Slovakia, as he is currently on standby.
As for the competition, Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel received an invitation to play for Team USA, but declined.
“I’m just going to take a break,” said the Leafs sniper. “It’s been a long year, a grind. Obviously, I love playing for my country, I’ve played in three worlds, so I’m just going to take a break, relax, go home and take a couple weeks off.”
Schenn, 21, had what most would call one of his strongest seasons as a Maple Leaf in 2010-2011. In all 82 games, he posted five goals and 17 assists for a career-high 22 points. He also appeared to be more disciplined, as he recorded a career-low 34 penalty minutes, while shutting down the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos.
Reimer, a native of Morweena, Manitoba, was the reason the Maple Leafs made a run at the playoffs. In 37 games with the Buds, the 23-year-old had a record of 20-10-5, a goals against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .921, which is better than his AHL save percentage of .920.
Having a solid goaltender was refreshing for Leafs fans, who have had to watch struggling goalies like Vesa Toskala, Andrew Raycroft, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson enter the Leafs net for years.
Canada kicks off its tournament on April 29 against Belarus, with former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock behind the bench.
Information from TSN.ca was used in this report.