Team Canada’s try-outs for the World Junior Championships. What 2009-eligible players should you look out for, and who from the ’08 class is making a surprising impact?
C Nazem Kadri, 2009- Crafty forward from the OHL was invited to give him some experience for next year... or least that was the plan. The Ribeiro clone has been simply fantastic in intra-camp scrimmages, shining on a line with Oilers prospect Riley Nash.
C Riley Nash, 2008 (Edmonton)- The Second-Rookie Team selection who finished in second in team scoring for Cornell has shone as a defensive ace in camp. His back-checking is a thing of beauty, and has allowed his line-mates to pinch.
C Logan Couture, 2007 (San Jose)- Quietly having a great camp. Couture, who struggled with mono during his draft year and fell 9 as a result, could be the breakout player of the WJC. His intelligence and fine passing instincts as well domination in the dot make him a threat.
C Corey Trivino, 2008 (NYI)- We told he was good. The Islanders nabbed an extraordinary steal in Trivino, whose vision has been on fine display. With Canada potentially losing Brandon Sutter, Kyle Turris and Steve Stamkos to the NHL, Trivino could be an important part of the offense.
LW Jamie Benn, 2007 (Dallas)- The Stars signed him to a rookie contract last week for a reason. A former BCHL star, Benn had a breakout year as a WHL rookie. Partnered with 100-point man Colin Long, Benn has shown at camp that he can snipe without his linemate. He could be among the tourney’s leading goal-getters.
C Paul Byron, 2007 (Buffalo)- At just 5’9 and maybe 160, Byron is the smallest player in camp- but he’s been one the best. A fantastic stickhandler and finisher, the Daniel Briere clone will enjoy a big coming-out party.
Luke Schenn, 2008 (Toronto)- Yeah, he’s on the team. An unforgiving physical and defensive player, Schenn has gone through the paces and looked extraordinary against mere boys.
Drew Doughty, 2008 (LA)- Another lock. After dominating the Kings rookie game last week, Doughty was in fine form against some more of his peers.
None- None of the goalies at Team Canada camp have been very good. This position will be the biggest bone of contention.
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