If Canada’s selection camp for the World Junior Championship showed one thing, it’s that the kids are alright.
Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin will be joined by undrafted 19-year-old JC Lipon as members of Canada at the World Juniors, the first time Canada will field a roster that includes three draft eligible forwards for the first time in tournament history.
MacKinnon showed throughout camp that he was not only an elite scoring threat, but also a dependable and rugged defensive presence. He was one of the most explosive players all week long and it comes as no surprise that he made the team. I see MacKinnon really surprising a lot of people at this tournament and if he continues his strong play he could work his way into a top-six role.
His Halifax Mooseheads teammate could as well.
After starting the week a bit slow, Drouin looked to gain more and more comfort with every passing shift. He has the best vision and passing ability I have seen since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came through the draft. Drouin will be a valuable asset on the power play and will provide scoring depth for Team Canada.
Another guy that started camp slow but finished strong, Lipon showed value as a bottom line guy that can also generate some energy. In all honesty, I am quite surprised that Lipon made the team as I felt he was over matched for much of the week, but can fill a penalty-killing role and eat up some fourth line minutes for Canada.
Canada almost took four to Ufa. Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers was the final forward cut from the roster.
Despite playing well for much of the week, Shinkaruk was unable to make the roster. His size and age were probably determining factors in his eventual release. I thought he was one of the more consistent players at camp and could have definitely been a solid role player for this team.
Regardless, Canada’s entry into the World Juniors proves the talent and depth the 2013 NHL Draft possesses.