MacKinnon, Drouin make Canadian junior team
Playing for the CIS university team, Canadian goalie Jake Paterson from Mississauga, Ontario, comes out of his crease to clear the puck away from National Junior selection camp player Nathan McKinnon, from Cole Harbour, Nova Scoatia, during exhibition hockey action in Calgary, Alta. on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 7:10PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 13, 2012 8:17PM EST
CALGARY -- The Canadian junior men's hockey team had the best 19-year-old talent in the country available to it because of the NHL lockout, but a pair of 17-year-old forwards were named to the squad Thursday.
Halifax Moosehead teammates and linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were among the 13 forwards chosen for the team that will represent Canada at the 2013 world junior hockey championship starting Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia.
On the 1995 and 2005 junior teams which were also bolstered by lockouts, defenceman Wade Redden (1995) and Sidney Crosby (2005) were the 17-year-olds on those teams.
Anthony Camara, Phillip Danault, Jonathan Huberdeau, Charles Hudson, Boone Jenner, JC Lipon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ty Rattie, Brett Ritchie, Mark Scheifele and Ryan Strome were also named to this year's Canadian team at forward.
Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers is the lone NHL player, but there are also a few who would have played in the league this season if not for the lockout.
"We're playing for Canada," Nugent-Hopkins said during selection camp. "Everyone expects the best and we don't want to let them down at all."
Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harrington, Ryan Murphy, Xavier Ouellet, Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Reilly and Tyler Wotherspoon will be Canada's defencemen.
Jordan Binnington, Jake Paterson and Malcolm Subban were the goaltenders selected. The Canadian team is taking a third goaltender to Ufa as insurance against injury to either the starter or backup.
Countries submit their rosters for the tournament on Dec. 25. No additions can be made after that at defence or forward, but adding a goaltender is permitted if another is injured.
Huberdeau, Scheifele, Strome, Jenner, Hamilton and Harrington were on the Canadian team that won bronze at the 2012 world junior tournament held in Alberta.
Canada won five straight gold from 2005 to 2009 and then took silver in 2010 and 2011. Canada dominated the tournaments of 1995 and 2005, so there are high expectations on this team to reclaim gold.
"I want to be aggressive," head coach Steve Spott said when the players arrived for selection camp Monday.
"We don't want to disappoint our opponents. We want to be aggressive, we want to be on the forecheck, we want to be a puck possession team. We won't sit back. We're going to be a team that plays on its toes."
The Ontario Hockey League dominates the team with 11 players, followed by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with six and the Western Hockey League with five and one from the NHL. All three goaltenders are out of the OHL.
Nugent-Hopkins, chosen first overall by the Oilers in 2011, is the highest draft pick in a lineup that includes 10 first-round draft picks.
Along with MacKinnon and Drouin, 19-year-old forward JC Lipon is the only other undrafted player on the team. The Boston Bruins lead all draft picks with three.
Released from the team Thursday were forwards Daniel Catenacci, Mark McNeill, Hunter Shinkaruk and Tom Wilson, defencemen Frank Corrado, Mathew Dumba and Ryan Sproul, as well as goaltender Laurent Brossoit.
The team departs Saturday for pre-competition camp in Finland. Thirty-six players arrived in Calgary on Monday for selection camp. They had one practice, and if they weren't among the five players released Wednesday, one intrasquad and two exhibition games to prove themselves.