This is Ryan Murphy. He must be a disheartened man today. He was among the final cuts made from the Canadian World Juniors Selection Camp. He played his heart out and even Bob McKenzie was half-expecting Murphy to make the team and for good reason: he is one of the most talked about defensemen among this year's draft eligible prospects. He is an explosive skater, a very good puck mover and has that 'vision' everyone raves about. The only knock on him is that he is small and sometimes it puts him at a disadvantage while playing defense. If you ask his fans, they will tell you that he has improved and is no longer the defensive liability that he was initially made out to be. However, he should take this cut in stride and go on to dominate the OHL scoring race.
The World Junior selection camp ended today and the last cuts were made today morning. While none of the cuts were questionable, some were disheartening. Along with Murphy, Riley Sheahan and Calvin Pickard. Pickard is the best goalie in the Whl, heck he might even be the best goalie in the entire CHL, but whenever it comes time to play in a tournament he falters. He did not play well in the U-18 before the draft and even in the camp he was terrible. Ryan Hopkins being cut is not really surprising. He is only 17 and was the youngest forward in the camp. I dont think he is at the same level as Matt Duchene or Tyler Seguin, but they did not make the World Junior team in their draft year either.
More on the WJC team and cuts after the jump following the CHL updates.
As usual, ZPG is Zero point games. Players in black are draft prospects for the upcoming draft. Players in copper are Oiler prospects. Players in red are 1st round draft picks from previous draft and those in blue were drafted in 2009. The stats are from the games played from 1st December to 14th December.
- Jonathan Huberdeau is one guy who is not generating a lot of hype. He is one of the younger draft prospects and is essentially playing his 17 yr old season. That said, he is tearing up the league. He is 3rd in scoring with 52 points in 33 games, 1 more than top-ranked Sean Couturier. He is the best player on the best team in the QMJHL. He will soon slide into the top half on most draft rankings.
- A familiar name is back in the charts - Jeremie Blain. He has played well for the Titans since his return and has gotten assists in all games he has played since coming back.
- Ryan Strome is the flavor of the month in the OHL. His 11 points in 6 games has vaulted him back in the top 10 scoring in the O. Brandon Saad had an off two weeks. However, we all know that he is a quality player and his scoring will be back soon. Alexander Khokhlachev continues to be underrated as he continues his run of impressive performances for Windsor. Doug Hamilton's scoring has continued and he remains the biggest threat to Murphy for being the first Canadian Dman to be selected.
- It has been trying times for Ty Rattie. Just a few days ago, he top 3 in WHL scoring, but has struggled a lot lately. His struggles can be attributed to reduction in prime ice time since the return of Nino Niederreiter. He is not the only one who has suffered, his linemate Sven Bartschi has seen his scoring reduce as well.
- The Edmonton Oil Kings are one of the hottest teams in the WHL right now. They are led by none other than Michael St Croix who has 14 points in his last 5 games. He is showing off all the reasons why he has been hyped by fans and the team. I believe the Oil Kings are going to get a player selected in the 1st round in back -to-back seasons. I dont know whether Cameron Abney is injured or a healthy scratch, but a WOWY analysis will not be favorable to him. Kristians Pelss looked like he was figuring it out, but hasnt played in the last 3 games for the Oil Kings. Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson continue to have strong campaigns. Davidson's stats look especially good for a 6th round pick. It is unfortunate that Tyler Pitlick was given the snub by the USA WJ camp especially when Emerson Etem was invited. Pitlick has been far more consistent than Etem and is a much better EV scorer. Team USA could really have used his David Backes-lite ability.
- Shane McColgan's draft stock continues to fall. He was injured to start the season. However, his numbers have been mediocre at best. He will need a very strong second half to catapult himself back in the talk for a top 30 selection. David Musil is another player who continues to underwhelm. I believe that his skill-sets are similar to that of Mark Pysyk and will end up getting drafted in that range.
- The World Junior team is set and it looks solid. Not many superstars, but a well-built team. Here it is:
Schwartz - Schenn - Connolly
Ellis - De Haan
Olsen - Despres
- Apparently Gudbranson had a terrible camp and Hockey Canada took him anyway due to his potential. Gudbranson is just coming off a mild injury and they might be right in choosing him, but they did the same with Cowen last season and that did not turn out well for us at all. This is a very well balanced team and I will be disappointed if we don't win the Gold. Pierre McGuire has a new crush - Jaden Schwartz. Seriously check out the TSN videos and listen to Pierre speak. It was Tokarski then Eberle and now Schwartz. Its going to be fun watching the World Juniors on TSN and Pierre Mcguire's commentary is an integral part of it.
Let me sign off by saying: In the last 3 World Junior Championship, the eventual 1st overall pick has been on Team Canada!