Hockey Canada has announced their summer development camp roster for the 2011 World Juniors. Who are the notable names and who stands a good chance of making the club?
The summer development camp is often the media's first look at a number of 18-year-old talents that may eventually represent their country in December. However, if you've been reading DobberHockey at all this year, you'll recognize a number of the names.
The biggest influence on the team's roster will be the coaching staff. Mississauga St. Michael Majors bench boss Dave Cameron was chosen four days ago to lead the squad; the 51-year-old prefers to play an NHL-style system that employs just two forecheckers and three bodies providing defensive coverage at all times. Thus, one can expect speedy, defensively-oriented skaters to take precedence over offensive wildcards.
Helping Cameron will be Windsor's Bob Boughner- an up-tempo coach that should provide plenty of expertise when it comes to the powerplay- Kelowna's Ryan Huska, and Andre Tourigny of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Huskies allowed the fourth-fewest goals against in the Q and were second in PK efficiency.
As such, here are our thoughts on the forward invitees:
RW Carter Ashton (TB)- A sublime skater for his 6'3 frame, Ashton is the perfect puck pursuit body for Cameron's system. With his speed, Ashton can chase down dump-ins, yet still have the size and strength necessary to win the board battles that result.
RW Taylor Beck (NSH)- Although a big body at 6'2 203 lbs and a handful around the net, Beck's skating has not progressed enough to make him a player that can support both sides of the puck. He was just a +19 despite netting 93 points.
C Casey Cizikas (NYI)- Cizikas had a bounce-back year after his manslaughter trial ended with the fourth round pick receiving just one year's probation. Nevertheless, the two-way forward will likely make the team as he plays for Cameron's Majors.
LW Kyle Clifford (LAK)- Clifford, a rugged winger capable of sparking his club with big hits, would have been a shoe-in had Willie Desjardins still been coaching. However, as the antics of some Canadian players provided an unnecessary distraction, TC's focus may turn away from including such agitators.
C/LW Sean Couturier (2011)- The only underager selected for the summer camp, the 6'4 center is both literally and figuratively the next big thing in Canadian hockey. Including him both at the camp and on the TC roster would be an invaluable learning experience.
C Cody Eakin (WAS)- A late cut last year, Eakin's speed and dogged forecheck make him a shoe-in for the roster in some capacity.
RW Brendan Gallagher (2010)- The diminutive forward offers a number of interesting dimensions, and as such would be a solid choice on an energy line. However, Cameron may ask for a bit more size in that role, and there are a couple better options.
RW Scott Glennie (DAL)- Although Glennie has failed to develop into the goal-scorer some predicted, his speed, two-way ability and above-average vision will make him one of the marquee weapons on the final roster.
LW Taylor Hall (2010)- Whether he's an Oiler or a Bruin, the odds Hall that is released for the WJC are low. He'd be the team's- and perhaps the tourney's- best player if that were the case.
LW Curtis Hamilton (2010)- Hamilton has excellent size at 6'3 210 lbs and is a speedy straight-line skater, but he'll need to have an excellent start to make even the winter evaluation camp roster; he played just 29 regular season and playoff games last year.
LW Quinton Howden (2010)- Howden is the type of wildcard that will keep Cameron and company up at night. When the 6'3 winger is off, he's soft and makes poorly orchestrated passes. Still, he has the top-end gear to keep up with the WHL's fastest and owns game-breaking skill.
LW Ryan Howse (CGY)- Another player prone to giving Cameron's staff fits, Howse is a tremendous skater and finisher but lacks much in the way of a complete game. At 5'11 185 lbs he'll be in tough to make the roster over more complete options.
C Ryan Johansen (2010)- Barring an injury-filled year, you can write Johansen's name in pen. Johansen boasts an incredibly mature game and will be one of the team's most relied-upon players at both even strength and on the PK.
RW Zack Kassian (BUF)- As in Clifford's case, character and restraint will be coveted this year in order to avoid another international incident. Kassian is capable of playing a rugged yet clean game, but off-ice gaffes like the recent bar brawl hurt his chances.
C Louis Leblanc (MON)- Speed, a nasty edge and tremendous skill. Leblanc's got everything and should be a top-six player with Team Canada come Christmas.
LW Brad Ross (2010)- If and when Johansen makes it, it will be tough to leave off his linemate Ross. Rather than dole out dirty plays, Ross' mouth does most of the damage and he should effectively fill the role of agitator.
C Brayden Schenn (LAK)- Like Hall, there's little chance Schenn is released for the tournament.
C Jaden Schwartz (2010)- An out-of-country Canuck, such a scenario likely hurt Leblanc's chances last year when he arguably should have made the roster. Schwartz isn't a burner but has excellent vision and could provide a spark for the PP. Still, we'd rate his chances at low.
C Tyler Seguin (2010)- IF the Oilers take Hall, and IF the Bs leave their current center situation of Savard/Krejci/Bergeron intact, Seguin would be available. He'd be the best player on the team.
C Riley Sheahan (2010)- A skill forward in a big man's body, Notre Dame forward Riley Sheahan is another possibility to fill the grinder role on the third or fourth line.
C Jeff Skinner (2010)- A natural finisher, Skinner is the game-breaking talent the roster will be lacking if Hall, Seguin and Schenn all find themselves pre-occupied by the NHL.
RW Tyler Toffoli (2010)- A savvy offensive winger who owns some of the best hands in the 2010 class, Toffoli's problem is a matter of speed. While he's improved his attention to defense, he's still not as refined in that area as Cameron may like, and he doesn't have the size (6'0, 181 lbs) to be a banger and crasher if the offense doesn't follow.
RW Linden Vey (LAK)- A defensively responsible winger capable of anchoring a checking line, Vey lacks both the size (5'11 176 lbs) and the snarl to contain bigger, better players. Pass.
LW Ethan Werek (NYR)- 6'3 Ethan Werek doesn't play for Coach Cameron, but he's likely seen enough of him- a forward for the Kingston Frontenacs, Werek's straight-line speed and soft hands gave the Majors fits all year.
So what might the roster look like come the winter? Here's our best guess (LW-C-RW):
Sean Couturier-Jeff Skinner-Tyler Seguin: Likely the three most-talented Canadian players available for the WJC, it's a shame all three happen to be natural pivots with just a small amount of experience on the wing. Still, if they can develop chemistry, it would be a lethal unit.
Quinton Howden-Cody Eakin-Scott Glennie: Eakin, a natural scorer, and Glennie, a gifted playmaker, are two of the fastest skaters in the world. Add in a 6'3 bookend who can control the boards and you have the perfect second line.
Brad Ross-Ryan Johansen-Carter Ashton: Another all-WHL unit, size, toughness and a bit of speed could make this an incredibly effective shutdown trio.
Ethan Werek-Casey Cizikas-Zack Kassian: Ample parts size, skill and tenacity, it's the kind of line Cameron would ice in Missauaga if he had the horses.