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December 17, 2010
World Junior Hockey Championship
Team Canada

by Corey Pronman

Team Canada has announced its 22-man roster for the upcoming IIHF World Under 20 Championship, commonly known as the World Junior Hockey Championship (WJHC). Here are some brief notes on every player that will take part in the tournament. As you will see below, Canada opted to bring a lot of physical players and will be attempting to win games in the corners and the slot area.

Name			NHL Team	Drafted
Carter Ashton		Tampa Bay	1st round, 29th overall in 2009
Casey Cizikas		NY Islanders	4th round, 92nd overall in 2009
Brett Connolly		Tampa Bay	1st round, 6th overall in 2010
Sean Couturier		N/A		Eligible in 2011
Cody Eakin		Washington 	3rd round, 85th overall in 2009
Marcus Foligno		Buffalo		4th round, 104th overall in 2009
Curtis Hamilton		Edmonton	2nd round, 48th overall in 2010
Quinton Howden		Florida		1st round, 25th overall in 2010
Ryan Johansen		Columbus	1st round, 4th overall in 2010
Zach Kassian		Buffalo		1st round, 13th overall in 2009
Louis Leblanc		Montreal	1st round, 18th overall in 2009
Brayden Schenn		Los Angeles	1st round, 5th overall in 2009
Jaden Schwartz		St. Louis	1st round, 14th overall in n2010

Carter Ashton

Ashton is a big guy who plays a power forward game and also is an above average skater. He will likely be a lower line guy for Canada as he doesn’t have the greatest offensive ceiling. He can still contribute somewhat though and get goals by going to the net and using his body in the high percentage areas. Ashton is still raw and while he may be able to beat players physically at the Junior level, his hockey sense is a concern both now and especially going forward.

Casey Cizikas

Cizikas has had a difficult Junior career, but he is looking to put an exclamation mark on it as he nears the end. Casey is an energy forward who will kill penalties, go to the physical areas and be a hustler on every play. His skating is still fringe and will hamper him in his pro aspirations, but for Canada he will be a good sparkplug guy.

Brett Connolly

Connolly was one of the top prospects going into the 2010 Entry Draft, and while he arguably was a top three talent in that draft class, a hip injury lowered his stock to the 6th spot for Tampa. Brett is a very talented goal scorer and if there is one go-to guy offensively for Canada, Connolly may be that guy. His skill set is very well-rounded with above average hockey sense, as well as the ability to carry the puck up-ice and stickhandle in traffic.

Sean Couturier

Couturier is one of the top 2011 Draft prospects, who has been discussed as a potential top three pick. Sean doesn’t have any true plus-plus tool, but he’s a very well-rounded prospect who is much more physically gifted than the average prospect in this tournament. He may be draft eligible, but he’s not that young compared to the pool of players, as his 18th birthday just passed on December 7th. With the lack of firepower on this team, Couturier should be given prime offensive minutes.

Cody Eakin

Eakin is a skilled little guy with some sandpaper to his game. He displays above average skating and puck skills. He’s advanced defensively and shows willingness to backcheck and retrieve the puck along the walls. He’s just one of the many scrappy guys in this Canadian forward corps. Due to a good but not great offensive skill set as well as questionable physical tools, his NHL future is hard to project, but he will be a contributor for Canada.

Marcus Foligno

I wasn’t a big fan of seeing Foligno staying on. He’s a good grinder but I don’t see enough valuable attributes from him as a player to bring to the table. He’s a fringe skater if even that, and his hockey sense isn’t that good. Canada has enough grinders that one like Foligno may be pressed for ice time even as a ’91 birthdate.

Curtis Hamilton

After being sidelined for the majority of last season with a broken collarbone, Hamilton has returned with a vengeance this year in the WHL, putting up much larger offensive numbers than he has in the past. His finesse skills are all fringe-average at best, but he is a smart forward who works hard and utilizes his big body well.

Quinton Howden

Howden will likely slide into a lower role for Team Canada as a crash and bang type of player. While he has shown proficiency in the WHL as a goal scorer, he’s probably a year away from being used in a main scoring role in a U-20 tournament. He’s a good skater who works hard and can be a useful player on the penalty kill.

Ryan Johansen

Ryan was a bit of an overdraft back in June, but there’s no doubting his physical and playmaking skills. He’s a good possession player who can protect the puck as well as distribute it. Despite his 4th overall selection, don’t expect any sort of electric skill display, but expect a very effective and proficient game from Johansen in Canada’s top six.

Zack Kassian

Zack was much maligned last year after a couple of off-ice incidents, but on the ice he is a feared power forward. While only through 25 games, he has cut down on the excessive penalties this year which is a good sign, as Kassian can contribute as a goal scorer when he’s not in the box. His frame is pro-ready and he should dominate the opposition physically. He isn’t overly toolsy, but where he is with his physical development, his skills should be enough to suffice.

Louis Leblanc

Leblanc is another solid two-way forward amongst this group who has NHL top six potential and should be used in a scoring role in the tournament. Leblanc displays solid skating, puck skills and shot tools with a willingness to grind and play defense. Leblanc doesn’t have any sort of glaring flaw in his game, but isn’t really a game breaker either.

Brayden Schenn

After a long stint playing professional hockey between the NHL and AHL, Brayden is ready to be one of Canada’s key players. Without any major hole in his game other than his skating, Brayden can contribute in just about every aspect of the game. There is a reason he was a lottery pick—he is very skilled, advanced, and a relentless worker.

Jaden Schwartz

A prospect I believe is still underrated, even after torching the USHL in his draft season, Jaden is lighting up the NCAA. He’s a smaller forward with fringe skating ability, but his other tools are plus across the board. He’s a dangerous puck handler who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and despite his frame, is a fearless battler.

Name			NHL Team	Drafted
Tyson Barrie		Colorado	3rd round, 64th overall in 2009
Jared Cowen		Ottawa		1st round, 9th overall in 2009
Calvin de Haan		NY Islanders	1st round, 12th overall in 2009
Simon Depres		Pittsburgh	1st round, 30th overall in 2009
Ryan Ellis		Nashville	1st round, 11th overall in 2009
Erik Gudbranson		Florida		1st round, 3rd overall in 2010
Dylan Olsen		Chicago		1st round, 28th overall in 2009

Tyson Barrie

The only non-first round pick amongst this defense corps, Barrie makes his living by being a very smart player on the ice. One pro scout I’ve talked to described his hockey sense as plus-plus. He has logged sometimes up to 30 minutes a night for Kelowna while putting up big scoring numbers. His skating used to be fringe, but he’s improved to the point where it’s around pro level.

Jared Cowen

The physically-gifted Cowen was held back last year recovering from a knee injury, but this year he has returned to his previous form, and with his improved skating, he is starting to become a significant contributor on offense. Cowen should log big minutes for Canada and could be used on the second power play unit.

Calvin de Haan

A plus puck mover and thinker, Calvin enters his second go-around in this tournament as a player who should be a mainstay on the top four and on the first power play unit. De Haan is very calm with the puck and can consistently create plays. But while his acceleration is fringe and while he doesn’t have a good shot to be a multiple weapon threat from the point, he’s such a good thinker on the ice that he is always able to find and create passing lanes.

Simon Depres

Despres has the pure skill set that once made him considered a top 15 talent in the 2009 Draft. He fell off that projection a bit due to inconsistency in his play and in the defensive zone. Despres, though, has great natural tools with a plus frame and plus skating ability. His puck skills have also shown improvement over the last few seasons. He’s the kind of player who when he’s on can be a force, but he’s not always on.

Ryan Ellis

A three-time member of this team, people should be quite familiar with the smallish defender. Ellis has a true plus-plus shot from the point, maybe one of the best shots not in the NHL. Ellis has proven time and time again at the Junior level that he can be an offensive force, even if he isn’t an above average skater. He still has holes in his defensive and physical game, but he’s such a dangerous power play contributor that you’re willing to live with it.

Erik Gudbranson

While Gudbranson didn’t have the best camp for Team Canada, there is no denying the natural tools the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 draft possesses. He has a plus physical game already at the age of 18 and while he may never be a first pairing point producer, he has a very hard slapper combined with solid puck skills making him at least a partial contributor offensively.

Dylan Olsen

Olsen is a steady defender who isn’t a standout on this squad but who can hold his own somewhere on the third pairing for Canada. He’s got good hands, and while his skating is below pro-average, he’s shown the offensive sense to be able to contribute in that area while logging significant defensive minutes in the NCAA.

Name			NHL Team	Drafted
Olivier Roy		Edmonton	5th round, 113th overall in 2009
Mark Visentin		Phoenix		1st round, 27th overall in 2010

Olivier Roy

My favorite to be Canada’s starting goalie, Roy is one of the more underrated goalie prospects in the league. He is an athletic goalie with fine lateral movement and great reflexes. The main knocks on Roy have been his size and that his technique has not always been the sharpest, but that’s to be expected of a 19 year old goalie who has only played Major Junior. The save percentage numbers he’s posted in the QMJHL aren’t that great, but if Canada wants a game-changer, Roy gives them that chance more so than Visentin.

Mark Visentin

In a draft that saw Ryan Johansen go fourth, Dylan McIlrath 10th and Cam Fowler 13th, Mark Visentin going 27th overall in the 2010 Entry Draft may have been the most surprising pick of that first round. Mark has justified the pick so far, as he has a .921 save percentage in the OHL through 21 games this season. His game is very stagnant—Visentin tries not to move around and instead relies on proper positioning to keep the puck out. His lack of plus athletic tools makes his ceiling projection not that favorable, but he can be a steady guy between the pipes for Canada.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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