Vickers: Canada’s preliminary team roster

Aaron VickersTournaments & EventsLeave a Comment

I don’t think I’ve had more people bugging me about anything than what my projected roster is when Canada hits the ice for the World Junior Championship. Projecting a roster before seeing the 41 players selected to Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp may seem like an effort in futility, but nevertheless fun.

Of course, any list will be open to criticism. What I’m more interested in is to see how the roster I project now differs from the one I’ll compose after watching the camp, taking place from December 10th to 14th at the beautiful WinSport complex in Calgary. A lot can happen over the course of a four day selection camp and I look forward to those that haven’t made my preliminary roster proving me wrong.

So without further ado, my Team Canada 2012.

Tyler Bunz – Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
Mark Visentin – Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

Erik Gudbranson – Florida Panthers (NHL)
Ryan Murray – Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Dougie Hamilton – Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Brandon Gormley – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Jamie Oleksiak – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Alex Petrovic – Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Ryan Murphy – Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

Quinton Howden – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Jonathan Huberdeau – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Jaden Schwartz – Colorado College (WCHA)
Mark Scheifele – Barrie Colts (OHL)
Brendan Gallagher – Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Ty Rattie – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Ryan Strome – Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Brett Bulmer – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Mark Stone – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Mark McNeill – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Zack Phillips – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Freddie Hamilton – Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Tyler Toffoli – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

For some reason and with no insider information, I fully expect that Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson will be made available for this tournament. I’ve heard contrary reports already, but call it a gut feeling and nothing more. Should he not be made available, I would struggle to choose between 2012 draft eligible Cody Ceci and Nathan Beaulieu of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

I can’t imagine a situation where Ottawa 67’s forward Tyler Toffoli isn’t on this team. In the last 159 regular season games, Toffoli has 120 goals. There are few that have been able to fill the net in major junior the way he has. That said, I imagine him more in a 13th forward role. Flexibility among the forward core comes in the form of Niagara IceDog Freddie Hamilton, who can be used interchangeably among the team’s top-12 forwards.

Much in a similar fashion to that of Toffoli, I picture Ryan Murphy in a seventh defenseman role with power play specialist written all over him. In the past, Murphy has struggled to be included on Hockey Canada clubs in the past, but his talent is impossible to overlook. His is a game-breaking talent that can aid in Canada’s special teams play.

I struggled to put Jamie Oleksiak on the roster, but he has a unique skill set to offer the squad. Looking throughout the list of defensemen invited to camp, it was difficult to find a pairing that could perform in a pure shutdown role. Oleksiak is more than capable on offense, but I look at his inclusion as one that match up well with Red Deer Rebels blueliner Alex Petrovic in that role. Petrovic is one that can be used in all situations, but is strong enough to be used purely as a defensive defenseman.

How accurate will this roster be? It’s tough to say. How many changes will I make after the selection camp process? It’s tough to say, but only time will tell.

Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!

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