Canada's final roster for the upcoming World Juniors has been released. Upon first glance, the 2010 edition of Team Canada lacks some of the firepower that has been on display in recent years. However, there still is a lot of talent and grit at all positions, and Canada has to be considered a favourite as they look to win a record-setting sixth straight gold medal. If you haven't had a chance to check out my article on the WJHC and how you can use it to your advantage in your hockey pool, do so now.
Here is my piece on Team Sweden from December 3rd (the Swedish roster was the only one finalized early). I will also have pieces covering the teams from the US and Russia leading up to Boxing Day, when the tournament kicks off.
Jordan Eberle (2008 1st round pick, Edmonton Oilers) – Eberle will be the go-to-guy for Canada at this tournament. He has terrific hands and is a very cerebral player (not unlike Zach Parise). He leads the WHL in scoring with a Brett Hull-like 29 tallies in 28 contests. He was very close to making the Oilers out of camp, and his fitness and physical testing was right at the top among all Oiler training camp participants. Eberle will assuredly be among the scoring leaders for both Canada and the tournament. But perhaps more importantly, which past Canadian great will Pierre compare him to? The way he has stepped up in big situations has drawn a few lofty comparisons between himself and Joe Sakic. You never know…
Taylor Hall (2010 draft eligible) – Hall is the odds-on favourite to be the first pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He is big, he is fast, and he is skilled. I have seen him a few times, and he has a dynamic flair that reminds me a bit of Pavel Bure. Hall will most likely suit up alongside his Windsor teammates Adam Henrique and Greg Nemisz at even strength, but expect him to play on the top power play unit with Eberle for Canada. If he isn't a household name now, he will be in a few weeks.
Brayden Schenn (2009 1st round pick, Los Angeles Kings) – Schenn, like Eberle, came very close to making the NHL out of training camp. He impressed the Kings enough that he earned a one-game stint with the team after being signed on an emergency basis. He has NHL size already, and will play key minutes Canada. His Brandon Wheat King linemate Scott Glennie was projected to make this team, but he was forced out of the selection camp with a concussion.
Nazem Kadri (2009 1st round pick, Toronto Maple Leafs) – Kadri is an electrifying offensive talent, but will have to earn his ice time, as Bob McKenzie speculated that he would at least begin the tournament on the fourth line. He has a great shot at making the Leafs next season, and should be among the scoring leaders at this tournament. If you can somehow swing a trade for him before Boxing Day, do it.