The first round of cuts from Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp come in less than six hours. Seven or eight unhappy players will be woken up at 6 a.m. to the news that they will be returned to their junior team, killing their dream of pulling on the maple leaf.
I’d find it hard to believe that Calgary Flames prospect and Kootenay Ice forward Max Reinhart isn’t one of those players. Reinhart has failed to assert himself as a dominant forward and camp and looks very pedestrian on the ice. He’s said he put everything he had into his effort, which I don’t doubt, but Reinhart was a much better player during Kootenay’s Memorial Cup run last march.
Joining him could be fellow Flames pick Michael Ferland. Separated from Brandon Wheat Kings teammate Mark Stone, Ferland has looked invisible on the ice, something foreign to the player who has 17 goals and 44 points in the WHL this season. At times his thinking looks a step behind, something that Hockey Canada has undoubtedly discussed in their meeting tonight.
Unfortunately for Joe Morrow, he has been noticeable out on the ice. Though extremely talented, Morrow was on the wrong end of too many turnovers in both intra-squad games, especially when operating with the man-advantage. Morrow has been a key contributor with the Portland Winterhawks this season, but unfortunately hasn’t had a strong showing on Hockey Canada’s time.
While he hasn’t been guilty of poorly-timed turnovers or bad positional play, Scott Harrington doesn’t have the quickness required to play at the World Junior level. He’s been solid positionally, but Harrington becomes a victim of a numbers game with too many defensemen showing better than he.
Jerome Gauthier-Leduc has been the victim of poor defensive play, and it will likely cost him in the morning. Though he’s been very smooth at times, Gauthier-Leduc, much like Harrington, hasn’t shown enough at either end of the ice to warrant his continued participation in Canada’s camp.
The same can be said for Tyler Toffoli, who I originally pegged as the 13th forward on my preliminary roster. The theory was Toffoli could slide into an offensive role after scoring 120 goals with the Ottawa 67’s in his last 159 regular season games. Unfortunately the returns of Devante Smith-Pelly and Brett Connolly have made Toffoli obsolete and his play hasn’t forced Canada to keep him for another look.
Canada may take another look at Phillip Di Giuseppe. The 18-year-old draft eligible forward was singled out as a surprise after the first day, but Canada was quick to say Di Giuseppe needed to have three consecutive quality days. His second game wasn’t as good as the first and despite turning it up in the third period, the sun may have set on Di Giuseppe’s chances.
The final cut could come down to Tanner Pearson. Few have scored as many as Pearson’s 66 points with the Barrie Colts, but after being removed from teammate Mark Scheifele, Tanner hasn’t found success in the offensive zone. Signaled out as one of the players that came out of nowhere before camp, the undrafted Pearson is difficult to be found on the ice now.
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!