This year’s edition of Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships has the potential to be an all-star cast, even by Canada’s standards. However the team is potentially facing one major problem that could affect its roster.
The fear is if the NHL lockout comes to an end, several key players could be called back to their NHL clubs and that would leave Team Canada shorthanded.
“The problem is they can’t get any reassurance from general managers in the NHL on if (certain players) start the tournament, will they leave these players alone?” Hockey Central analyst Nick Kypreos said.
Players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Strome, Boone Jenner, Mark Scheifele, Dougie Hamilton and Morgan Rielly are all expected to make Team Canada, but most of them were also expected to play in the NHL this season too — or at least participate in training camp.
“Hypothetically we can sit there and say that Dec. 26 against Germany all these players can play, but worst case scenario for Team Canada is they settle the NHL lockout on the 26th or the 27th and now teams are calling back for these guys to be in camp,” Kypreos added.
“No one has stepped up to the plate and told Team Canada, ‘We will leave these players alone.’”
After the WJHC tournament begins, if a player is hurt or leaves they cannot be replaced.
Canada’s selection camp gets underway on Monday in Calgary.