Once again, the trickle-down effect of the NHL lockout has impacted those not in the league.
Hockey Canada has a monumental task of naming its selection camp slated to start Dec. 10 in Calgary. It was once thought that if the NHL lockout was still on by the time of this announcement, Hockey Canada would bring between 28-30 players. Problem is, the lockout could technically end at anytime, with no NHL cancellations officially announced past Dec. 15. As a result, Hockey Canada will name between 40-42 players when it announces its camp Monday afternoon.
Expect an announcement in the near future jointly between the IIHF and the NHL that outlines protocol for junior-aged players should the lockout be settled previous to or during the World Junior Hockey Championships. Obviously, not only Canada will be impacted, thus, the need for some sort of agreement in the absence of an agreement between the players and the owners of the NHL.
A tough break for Blainville-Boisbriand netminder Etienne Marcoux who was a lock for the selection camp. He was injured Saturday night with the same shoulder issues that have plagued him through much of his career.
Anyhow, here’s who I predict will be invited to the selection camp. The official announcement is Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET. I’ve listed a total of 40 players with some other considerations for each position, along with the most intriguing to watch at each position:
Goalies (4): Jordan Binnington, Laurent Brossoit, Eric Comrie, Malcolm Subban
One to Consider: Zachary Fucale
Most interesting to watch: Laurent Brossoit — which Bro will show, the WHL playoff MVP or the MasterCard Memorial Cup?
D (12): Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harrington, Xavier Ouellet, Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart, Matthew Dumba, Cody Ceci, Adam Pelech, Tyler Wotherspoon, Derek Pouliot, Ryan Murphy, Ryan Pulock
Two to Consider: Ryan Sproul, Stuart Percy
Most Interesting to watch: Matthew Dumba — is the early season trouble behind him?
FWD (24): Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau, Mark Scheifele, Ryan Strome, Boone Jenner, Philip Danault, Charles Hudon, Ty Rattie, Tom Wilson, Mark McNeil, Nathan MacKinnon, Hunter Shinkaruk, Jonathan Drouin, Colton Sissons, Sean Monahan, Brett Ritchie, Francis Beauvillier, Anthony Camara, Scott Laughton, JC Lipon, Tyler Graovac, Philip Di Giuseppe, Matt Puempel, Josh Leivo
Three to Consider: Anthony Mantha, Travis Ewanyk, Adam Lowry
Most Interesting to watch: Nathan MacKinnon — where does he fit in?
As always, it is subject to change should someone sustain an injury prior to the camp opening on Dec. 10. Hockey Canada has instituted a rule that says in order to play for the team, you must be at the selection camp.
Overall, I assess the group in this way: Malcolm Subban will go into camp as the team’s No. 1 goalie, but look back no further than last year to see that it can change. That’s the way Scott Wedgewood approached it last year, backing up Mark Visentin.
Even in the absence of Ryan Murray, the back end will still be very strong, and anchored by returnees Dougie Hamilton and Scott Harrington. From there, the dynamic will be interesting in that Ryan Murphy and Morgan Rielly can be high-risk, high-reward guys, while Griffin Renihart and Xavier Ouellet can hold down the fort and add a bit of offense.
As for the forward group, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins immediately becomes the centerpiece. After RNH, down the middle, Canada will be strong, with the likes of Ryan Strome, Mark Scheifele, Boone Jenner and Philip Danault. Having said that, some players accustomed to playing centre with their club teams will have to move to the wing. The top two lines should be able to score, and at least three of the bottom six forwards will be good-skating, physical types (think Tom Wilson).
Be sure to check back Tuesday for the regular edition of Coz for Thought.