Hockey Canada announced just a short time ago their Junior Selection Camp Roster for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, and there’s a single, lonely Leafs prospect on that list. Frederik Gauthier will represent the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Rimouski Oceanic at Canada’s selection camp, and is likely to compete in Malmo, Sweden.
As James Mirtle reports, Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter may already have Gauthier’s named penned in the lineup…
Gauthier making the Camp Roster isn’t really a surprise. While the Leafs’ most recent first round pick hasn’t necessarily been lights out this season in the QMJHL (6 goals and 22 points in 25 games so far), Gauthier will bring size and defensive skill to Team Canada.
It’s not hard to imagine that the 6’4 centre will be used in a shutdown/penalty killing role, and will see a lot of final-minute situations. Well, one would assume anyway… I mean, Team Canada will always be protecting a lead, right?
Perhaps more interesting news than Gauthier is those who didn’t get an invite? Morgan Rielly didn’t receive an invite, but that has more to do with this role with the Leafs than anything else.
As reported yesterday by the Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley
, Team Canada won’t bother inviting Rielly because Toronto isn’t willing to release him. It’s hard to say whether that’s a good idea or not – Rielly has been a healthy scratch on several occasions this season, but has seen anywhere from 18 to 21 minutes of ice time in his last five games in which he did suit up.
While it would be nice to see him pile up points on the big ice, the Leafs probably need Rielly more than Team Canada does at this point. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed that the Leafs haven’t been playing very good hockey lately. It’d be hard to justify loaning who could arguably be your second-best defenceman to the national program.