World Juniors: OHL well represented at Team Canada’s Selection camp

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Nick Suzuki

On Wednesday, Hockey Canada released the 32-man roster for their selection camp ahead of the World Juniors. The camp is now 33 players with the addition of Victor Mete, who comes on loan from the Montreal Canadiens.

The 2018 World Junior Championship Selection Camp, held in St. Catharines, will play host to the hopefuls as they vie for a trip to Buffalo for the tournament. 13 players from the WHL will compete for spots, along with four from the NCAA and three from the QMJHL. The remaining 12 spots are reserved for the OHL.

World Juniors: OHL well represented at Team Canada’s Selection camp

With camp set to get underway December 12th, let’s work our way through the 12 OHL hopefuls

Goaltender

Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires (2017, 3rd round, 64th overall, Vancouver)

The Spitfires are 16-10-2-0 this season, and DiPietro is a huge reason for that. While Aaron Luchuk sits second in the league in points and first in goals, DiPietro has been even better. He has a 2.66 goals-against average (fourth) and a 0.918 save percentage (third) so far. While his 16 wins are two back of first, you may also notice that he’s won all of the Spits’ games. It will be tough to steal the starting job away from Carer Hart, but if anyone can, it’s DiPietro.

Defence

Logan Stanley, Kitchener Rangers (2016, 1st round, 18th overall, Winnipeg)

After an injury-shortened season that finished with a Memorial Cup championship, Stanley has re-asserted himself among the best in the OHL. Towering in at 6’7″, Stanley has been a presence atop Kitchener’s top-pairing this year. His point totals won’t jump off the page (seven goals, 15 assists), but he plays big minutes and carries a big shot. If he makes it, he’ll give Canada solid depth.

Conor Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (2017, 2nd round, 32nd overall, Arizona)

Fourth in the league in scoring by blueliners, Timmins has been an elite two-way presence in the league for two years. After a 60-point season last year, he has 32 in 26 games for the West-leading Greyhounds. He carries good size to go along with his production, and at the time of the announcement, he was riding a seven-game point streak. He’ll be in tough to crack Canada’s roster as well, but would offer them some offensive insurance.

Forward

Jonathan Ang, Peterborough Petes (2016, 4th round, 94th overall, Florida)

Ang is a consistent, all-around presence who could help Canada in a variety of ways. A playmaker and a finisher, Ang is also lethal down a man. He has seven career shorthanded goals, including three this season.

Alex Formenton, London Knights (2017, 2nd round, 47th overall, Ottawa)

Formenton is one of the players who could play a role on Team Canada with an NHL pedigree. After earning a spot with the Ottawa Senators out of camp and getting into a game, he’s tearing it up with the Knights. Formenton is at a point-per-game pace since coming back to the OHL, and would provide production from the wing.

Jonah Gadjovich, Owen Sound Attack (2017, 2nd round, 55th overall, Vancouver)

Somewhat hidden on a deep Owen Sound team, Gadjovich could be a swiss army knife for Canada. He can play on the power play, shorthanded, and on even strength. He also isn’t afraid to shoot the puck.

Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (2016, 2nd round, 44th overall, Tampa Bay)

If you like scoring, Katchouk is the guy for you. In his rookie year, he scored zero goals in 12 games. Since then, he has 83 goals in 157, and three-straight 20 goal seasons. After scoring 35 goals in 66 games last year, he has 24 in 28 games this season. He also has a flair for the dramatic. In every year since his rookie season, Katchouk has scored six game-winning goals.

Jordan Kyrou, Sarnia Sting (2016, 2nd round, 35th overall, St. Louis)

When you talk about locks, Kyrou was one of them for Canada. He has 54 points in 28 games to lead the OHL, and his 36 assists are a league-best too. He’s not just a maturing star either, as his 94-point season last year give this year even more legitimacy. It’s tough to imagine a scenario where he doesn’t play a big role for Canada.

Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (2016, 1st round, 12th overall, New Jersey)

One of two OHLers returning from last year’s team, McLeod has shown he’s over his injury woes. After a knee injury and subsequent surgery ruined his chance at an NHL debut, he’s come back to Mississauga and had a great start. He has eight points in eight games so far, and has won 64% of his face-offs. The question ahead of camp was his health, and it seems he’s put those concerns to rest.

Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (2016, 2nd round, 58th overall, Tamp Bay)

Despite the fact the Otters graduated a huge amount of firepower to the pros, Raddysh has continue to score. While his 39 points in 27 games is a little off of last year’s pace, he’s proving he can be a focal point offensively. He joins McLeod as the second returnee from last year’s team.

Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack (2017, 1st round, 13th overall, Las Vegas)

Like Kyrou, it’s tough to see Suzuki as anything other than a lock for Team Canada. He’s a presence down the middle and dynamic offensively. With 42 points in 24 games, he is a game-breaking presence that can affect all phases of the game.

Robert Thomas, London Knights (2017, 1st round, 20th overall, St. Louis)

Thomas adds to Canada’s depth down the middle. After a point-per-game pace during his draft year, he’s up to 40 in 24 games to this point, and is winning faceoffs at a 62% clip. The Knights have undergone a massive turnaround since the beginning of the season. Canada is hoping to capture some of that magic with Thomas and Formenton.

Other players headed to camp: There were OHLers named to the selection camps of other countries competing at the World Juniors. Mississauga’s Jacob Moverare will be going to Sweden’s camp, while Albert Michnac’s will be going to the Czech Republic’s. Kingston’s Eemeli Rasanen will be going to camp with Finland. Max Jones (London) and Logan Brown (Windsor) will be going to USA’s camp.

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