Goalie prospect Jake Allen (no suprise) is on the roster too.
Pietrangelo among returnees invited to Canada camp
The next step on Canada's quest for an unprecedented sixth consecutive gold medal at the World Junior Championship was unveiled Tuesday, as a preliminary roster of 36 players have been invited to a final evaluation camp Dec. 12-16 in Regina, Sask.
The 2010 World Junior Championship will be held Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Saskatoon and Regina.
Among the players invited are seven who won gold at the 2009 WJC in Ottawa. Among them is defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was given permission to play in the tournament by the St. Louis Blues.
"In the case of Alex, I had good discussions with Doug Armstrong and Larry Pleau and Al MacInnis," said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada's senior director of men's national teams. "It's up to them to make the decision in what's best for the St. Louis Blues and the development of their player. We were wanting to see if he was eligible and they informed us over the last couple days that he would be made available."
Pietrangelo had 3 points and a plus-1 rating in six games for Canada last year in Ottawa. He also is the only one of nine current NHL players with junior eligibility coming to the camp.
Other players returning from the '09 team are defensemen Ryan Ellis and Colten Teubert, and forwards Patrice Cormier, Stefan Della Rovere, Jordan Eberle and Cody Hodgson.
Hodgson's selection wasn't a surprise, but it was a bit curious. Expected to make the Vancouver Canucks this season, the 2008 first-round pick injured his back over the summer, was returned to his junior team, the OHL's Brampton Battalion, and has yet to play a game this season.
"I've been in regular communication with the Battalion and (coach) Stan Butler over the last month," Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray said. "Our understanding is that Cody is coming along, he's practicing (and) he's practicing with contact as well. Our understanding is things are progressing and moving along. … All indications are that Cody should be ready to participate at camp and at the World Junior Championship."
Eberle is best remembered for his game-tying goal with 5.4 seconds left in the semifinals against Russia. He later scored in the shootout to propel Canada to the gold medal.
Thirteen of the players selected for the camp were first-round NHL Entry Draft selections. Four other players likely will be taken in the first round of the 2010 Entry Draft -- centers Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall and John McFarland, and defenseman Brandon Gormley.
Making the team as under-agers is rare, but nothing new. In 2008, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares made the team as 17-year-olds. In 2009, Ryan Ellis made the team and Evander Kane was an injury replacement.
Seguin and Hall were the top two skaters on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of Ontario Hockey League skaters, were invited to the camp. Hall, who plays for the Windsor Spitfires, leads the OHL with 53 points in 30 games; Seguin, who plays with the Plymouth Whalers, has 40 points in 24 games.
McFarland, a center with the Sudbury Wolves, captained Canada to a gold medal at this past July's Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament, and his strong play there has carried over to the OHL season, where he has 21 points in 26 games.
Gormley, a defenseman with the Moncton Wildcats, is the top-rated skater on Central Scouting's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League preliminary ranking. The 6-foot-2, 187-pounder has 20 points and plus-4 rating in 28 games.
Regardless of their age, Murray said their selection will be based solely on performance.
"Once they get on the ice no one checks birth certificates," said Murray. "They've proven themselves at Under-17, Under-18. Age has little to do with it. It'll be based on their performance on the ice."