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Canada invites top 2019 Draft prospect Lavoie to WJC selection camp

The camp will be held at Q Center in Victoria, British Columbia, from Dec. 11-14, and will feature a three-game series against a team of U SPORTS all-stars Dec. 12-14.

“We have good players throughout Canada, throughout the [Canadian Hockey League] and beyond,” Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwan said Monday. “To get down to the number of 34, it’s tough. When you look at the makeup of the roster, skill and the way we want to play is important. We have a philosophy from Hockey Canada how we want our teams to play. You follow those thoughts and then you work with your coaching staff.

“Bottom line, we want the best players, and when it’s all said and done we feel really good about the 34 that’s chosen today and that they’ll represent Canada at a high standard and play real hard for us.”

The 2019 WJC will be held in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. Canada, which won the 2018 WJC, is in Group A along with Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia and Switzerland. Group B consists of Finland Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.

Lavoie (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 26 games with Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and received an A rating from Central Scouting in its November players to watch list.

The 18-year-old center and forward Brett Leason, 19, of Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League, were the only two players named to the selection camp that are eligible for the 2019 draft. Leason is a C-rated skater.

“He’s an appealing NHL prospect who possesses all the priority skills and assets of a top pick,” Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting said. “He has very good size and skating to go along with natural hockey sense. He wants the puck on his stick and can finish in tight and under pressure. He has taken his game to the next level with his versatility and compete game allowing him to impact with both his skill and physical elements.”

Alexis Lafreniere, a candidate to be the first pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, also was invited to selection camp. The 17-year-old left wing is third in the QMJHL with 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 28 games for Rimouski.

“He’s like 19 other forwards,” McEwan said. “He has to prove there’s a spot for him. Knowing him well enough, I know he’ll come and compete. With him, we look at our roster, the skill factor and the way he can play … he’s got good size already (6-1, 192). There’s a lot of attributes in his favor that give him an opportunity and a chance at this roster.”

There will be 16 NHL first-round picks at selection camp, including nine chosen in the 2018 NHL Draft: Forwards Barrett Hayton (No. 5, Arizona Coyotes), Ty Dellandrea (No. 13, Dallas Stars), Liam Foudy (No. 18, Columbus Blue Jackets), and Joseph Veleno (No. 30, Detroit Red Wings), and defensemen Evan Bouchard (No. 10, Edmonton Oilers), Noah Dobson (No. 12, New York Islanders); Ty Smith (No. 17, New Jersey Devils), Jacob Bernard-Docker (No. 26, Ottawa Senators), and Nicolas Beaudin (No. 27, Chicago Blackhawks).

Also invited were two players who helped Canada at the 2018 WJC, forwards Max Comtois (Anaheim Ducks) and Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators).

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas, who has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 20 games, also played for Canada at teh 2018 WJC and is eligible to play this year if the Blues release him for the tournament.

Detroit Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen, who has nine points (five goals, four assists) in 25 games, also is eligible to play in the WJC.

“You would like to get some more help from the NHL but you can’t count on that,” Canada coach Tim Hunter said. “We’re thrilled to have Max Comtois and Alex Formenton. They were great for us last year and their leadership will be key this year. We’ve got lots of experience on the staff at the World Juniors. We’re not that concerned without the experience. All these kids are smart hockey players and they’ll figure it out and we’ll be there to guide them along.”

 

CANADA SELECTION CAMP ROSTER

GOALTENDERS: Michael DiPietro, Windsor, OHL (Vancouver Canucks); Ian Scott, Prince Albert, WHL (Toronto Maple Leafs); Matthew Villalta, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Los Angeles Kings)

DEFENSEMEN: Calen Addison, Lethbridge, WHL (Pittsburgh Penguins); Nicolas Beaudin, Drummondville, QMJHL (Chicago Blackhawks); Jacob Bernard-Docker, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Evan Bouchard, London, OHL (Edmonton Oilers); Josh Brook, Moose Jaw, WHL (Montreal Canadiens); Cameron Crotty, Boston University, H-EAST (Arizona Coyotes); Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL (New York Islanders); Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown, QMJHL (Arizona Coyotes); Jared McIsaac, Halifax, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings); Ian Mitchell, Denver, NCHC (Chicago Blackhawks); Markus Phillips, Owen Sound, OHL (Los Angeles Kings); Ty Smith, Spokane, WHL (New Jersey Devils)

FORWARDS: Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Spokane, WHL (Los Angeles Kings); Shane Bowers, Boston University, H-EAST (Colorado Avalanche); Max Comtois, Drummondville, QMJHL (Anaheim Ducks); Ty Dellandrea, Flint, OHL (Dallas Stars); MacKenzie Entwistle, Hamilton, OHL (Arizona Coyotes); Alex Formenton, London, OHL (Ottawa Senators); Liam Foudy, London, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Morgan Frost, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Cody Glass, Portland , WHL (Vegas Golden Knights); Barrett Hayton, Sault Ste. Marie, WHL (Arizona Coyotes); Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible); Raphael Lavoie, Halifax, QMJHL (2019 draft eligible); Brett Leason, Prince Albert, WHL (2019 draft eligible); Isaac Ratcliffe, Guelph, OHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Jack Studnicka, Oshawa, OHL (Boston Bruins); Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound, OHL (Montreal Canadiens); Owen Tippett, Mississauga, OHL (Florida Panthers); Joseph Veleno, Drummondville, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings); Gabriel Vilardi, Ontario, AHL (Los Angeles Kings)

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