Hockey Canada unveiled its selection camp roster for the upcoming 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships on Monday, with the help of once-again head coach Brent Sutter, and the Vancouver Canucks could be very well-represented this year in Malmo, Sweden.
Both of Vancouver's 2013 first-round draft picks – No. 9 Bo Horvat and No. 24 Hunter Shinkaruk – were selected for the camp, along with British Columbians Griffin Reinhart (West Vancouver), Sam Reinhart (West Vancouver), Nic Petan (Delta), and Curtis Lazar (Vernon).
Horvat plays for the OHL's London Knights, while Shinkaruk is the captain of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers.
"When I got the call this morning, I was really thrilled to be a part of it and I just can’t wait there and show them what I got," Horvat told Metro News and reporter Cam Tucker, in a phone interview on Monday.
"There’s definitely a little bit of nerves. More excitement than anything but definitely a little nervous at the same time."
Both Horvat and Shinkaruk played in the CHL's recent Super Series against Russia – Horvat for the OHL and Shinkaruk for the Dub.
Thanks for all the congrats, huge honour to be named to the camp roster. Can't wait for this opportunity. #worldjuniors
— Hunter Shinkaruk (@H_S_9) December 2, 2013
The camp's roster, which includes two goalies, eight defencemen, and 15 forwards, will head to Etobicoke, Ontario (Toronto) on December 12. The final roster will include 22 players, which must be announced by December 25.
Canada is looking to win gold for the first time in (what will be) five years in Sweden.
On the drought, from TSN:
But here's the rub: since that gold medal triumph in 2009 won by a team coached by the Pat Quinn and including PK Subban, John Tavares and Evander Kane, Canada has not won the tournament again.
Sure, Canada has medaled in three of those four years (silvers in 2010 and 2011 and a bronze in 2012,) but for a country where hockey is king, you don't celebrate being anything but the best.
Is it time to worry?
(The 2009 team also had first-liners Cody Hodgson and Jordan Eberle, as well as a role-playing Jamie Benn. They were very, very good.)
Griffin Reinhart is a prospect in the NHL's New York Islanders and currently plays for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He is one of only four returning players from the 2013 junior squad, which finished without a medal.
Griffin's brother Sam is the top ranked North American skater for next year's NHL Draft and currently plays for the WHL's Kootenay Ice. Petan is a Winnipeg Jets product and plays for the Portland Winterhawks, and Lazar (an Ottawa Senators draft pick) plays for the Oil Kings.
Notable exceptions included full-time NHLers Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), Morgan Rielly (Toronto), and Sean Monahan (Calgary). Defenceman Matt Dumba is the only NHLer to be selected for the camp, as the Minnesota Wild ruled him eligible to play.
Other high-profile omissions include 2013 first-round NHL draft picks Darnell Nurse (Edmonton) and Max Domi (Phoenix).
Vancouver Canucks prospect Brendan Gaunce, who plays for the OHL's Belleville Bulls, was also left off.
Notables to make the camp include defencemen Josh Morrissey and Aaron Ekblad. Kelowna Rockets defenceman Damon Severson was also selected on Monday.
No. 3 NHL draft pick Jonathan Drouin (Halifax and Tampa) made the camp along with fellow returning forward Charles Hudon.
Meanwhile, Canadians could get their first national look at Erie Otters phenom Connor McDavid, the 16-year-old who is sixth in OHL scoring this season with 45 points in 27 games.
McDavid is eligible for the NHL Draft in 2015. Reinhart and Ekblad are eligible for the 2014 Draft, next year.
Here is the full list chosen by Hockey Canada:
Zachary Fuchale, Jake Paterson
Griffin Reinhart, Chris Bigras, Matthew Dumba, Aaron Ekblad, Josh Morrissey, Adam Pelech, Derrick Pouliot, Damon Severson
Josh Anderson, Jonathan Drouin, Frederik Gauthier, Felix Girard, Bo Horvat, Charles Hudon, Scott Laughton, Curtis Lazar, Taylor Leier, Anthony Mantha, Connor McDavid, Nicolas Petan, Sam Reinhart, Kerby Rychel, Hunter Shinkaruk