Yesterday Hockey Canada announced the rosters for the tryout camp that starts on December 12th. Last night I decided to start putting together my predictions for a roster.
Well, here it is:
I think the goaltending could be the biggest battle in camp. All four guys (along with Olivier Roy and Mark Visentin) could not only make the team, but start. Olivier Roy is considered the "favorite" by some people, because he had a very strong summer camp. But so far this year, he is arguably playing the worst of all 4 goalies invited to camp.
Jared Cowen - Calvin DeHaan
Ryan Ellis - Erik Gudbranson
Simon Despres - Dylan Olsen
Ex. Ryan Murphy
As you will notice, I haven't included returning defenseman Brandon Gormley. He dislocated his knee cap in a game last Friday and it sounds like he won't be involved in the camp. That forces me to leave him off the roster.
The only other position I had to think about was the spot of the 7th defenseman. Originally I had 17 year old and 2012 eligible Ryan Murray instead of Murphy, but at this point I think Murphy likely has the edge for the spot. I would love to see Murray make it, but I think he is attending camp mostly for experience. Murphy is a top notch offensive defenseman and would provide some more punch should DeHaan or Ellis struggle or get hurt.
It was also tough to leave of Brayden McNabb of Kootenay, but I think the blueline has enough size and grit without him.
Brett Connolly - Ryan Johansen - Sean Couturier
Quinton Howden - Joey Hishon - Garrett Wilson
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Louis Leblanc - Linden Vey
Curtis Hamilton - Jaden Schwartz - Zack Kassian
Ex. Michael Bournival
Up front I left off a few big players from the WHL, Cody Eakin and Carter Ashton. I left off Eakin because he has been battling a bad hip all season, and hasn't looked like the normal explosive player most people come to expect. I know Team Canada could use the offense, but I'm not sure Eakin will make the squad.
I also have gone back in forth in regards to the 3rd line center role. I originally had Brandon Pirri in instead of Leblanc, but I think Leblanc might have the edge after giving it more thought.
Making this lineup, it becomes clear how this team is going to need to score by committee. They have a ton of guys that have solid offensive skills but not many that stand out as dominant offensive players. This team is definitely going to need to have a strong work ethic and a ton of grit to get some goals. I think my lineup reflects that.