It’s that time of year where everyone has their eyes on the best the junior hockey world has to offer as the world prepares for the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship.
The 2018 World Junior Championship will be held in Buffalo, beginning on Dec. 26, with the gold medalist to be decided Jan. 5, 2018. For the first time in the history of the event, the tournament will feature an outdoor game, played on December 29 at 3 p.m. ET, between Canada and the USA.
Canada will participate in Group A, which includes the likes of USA, Denmark, Slovakia and Finland. The Canadians will open the tournament on Dec. 26 as the home team against Finland.
In the meantime, Hockey Canada has compiled scouting reports on players dating back to their U-16 regional experience, through the U-17 and U-18 programs, along with the summer showcase camp, which took place in Plymouth, MI back in August. You can add several regular season viewings to that and, of course, our six-game CIBC Canada-Russia series. Mix in the various conference calls and meetings and it won’t be long until a short list with up to 34 players is invited to the selection camp, which will take place from Dec. 12-15 in Niagara, Ont.
Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen, Blainville-Boisbriand owner, GM and head coach Joel Bouchard and Hockey Canada Manager of Hockey Operations Shawn Bullock will work in concert with head coach Dominque Ducharme (Drummondville Voltigeurs) and assistant coaches Tim Hunter (Moose Jaw Warriors) and Trevor Letowski (Windsor Spitfires) to decide who will make the final roster. Keep in mind, in international play, there is an allowance for 20 skaters and two goalies at the tournament.
The selection camp invites will be announced Dec. 4, while final cuts are expected to be made by end-of-day on Dec. 15. In terms of players in the NHL or AHL who could be available the NHL roster freeze, which will commence on Dec. 19, will determine a player’s participation. Teams may agree to release a player before that date, but they will be unavailable after it.
Here’s what I predict the camp invite list will look like:
Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips, WHL, (PHI, 48th, 2016)
Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires, OHL, (VAN, 64th, 2017)
Samuel Harvey, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, QMJHL, (undrafted)
Colton Point, (Colgate University), NCAA, (DAL, 128th, 2016)
Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen, WHL, (CAR 13th 2016)
Kale Clague, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL, (LAK 51st 2016)
Dante Fabbro, Boston University, NCAA, (NAS 17th 2016)
Cale Makar, UMass-Amherst, NCAA, (COL 4th 2017)
Connor Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL, (COL 32nd 2017)
Logan Stanley, Kitchener Rangers, OHL, (WPG 18th 2016)
Cal Foote, Kelowna Rockets, WHL, (TB 14th 2017)
Josh Mahura, Regina Pats, WHL, (ANA 85th 2016)
Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL, (ARI 23rd 2017)
Evan Bouchard, London Knights, OHL, (2018 draft eligible)
Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL, (NJ 12th 2016)
Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters, OHL, (TB 58th 2016)
Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets, WHL, (CAL 56th 2016)
Brett Howden, Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL, (TB 27th 2016)
Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL, (TB 44th 2016)
Jordan Kyrou, Sarnia Sting, OHL, (STL 35th 2016)
Robert Thomas, London Knights, OHL, (STL 20th 2017)
Sam Steel, Regina Pats, WHL, (ANA 30th 2016)
Cliff Pu, London Knights, OHL, (BUF 69th 2016)
Adam Mascherin, Kitchener Rangers, OHL, (FLA 38th 2016)
Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack, OHL, (VGK 13th 2017)
Max Comtois, Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL, (ANA 50th 2017)
Alex Formenton, London Knights, OHL, (OTT 47th 2017)
Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City Americans, WHL, (DET 9th 2017)
Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets, WHL, (VAN 33rd 2017)
Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos, WHL, (ARI 128th 2017)
Matthew Phillips, Victoria Royals, WHL, (CAL 166th 2016)
Jonathan Ang, Peterborough Petes, OHL, (FLA 94th 2016)
Jonah Gadjovich, Owen Sound Attack, OHL, (VAN 55th 2017)
Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL, (FLA 10th 2017)
*^Tyson Jost: San Antonio Rampage (AHL)/Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
*^Pierre-Luc Dubois: Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
^Samuel Girard: Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
^Victor Mete: Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
^Nolan Patrick: Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)
*^ indicates returning WJC player in NHL/AHL
^ non-returning player in NHL