It's finally here…
The month we've all been waiting for; December. Boxing Day is only 24 days away.
While two other nations; Sweden and Russia, had their rosters leaked earlier this week, Team Canada will hold its annual selection camp Dec. 10 to 14 in Blainville-Boisbriand, home of the QMJHL's Armada.
Thirty-two players were named, but 10 will be sent home for the holidays rather than joining their peers in the quest for gold.
The first couple of days of camp will be spent focusing on internal affairs, before getting into the action with some outside competition Dec. 12 when the team will play a back-to-back against a team of CIS All-Stars. As they did the previous time the tournament was held in Montreal and Toronto, Team Canada will face off against the Czech Republic in a final evaluation game.
It was a good day for Quebec hockey, as nine players were named to the national selection camp. Four forwards and five defenseman will compete from the Q; including two of only five returning players, Thomas Chabot and Julien Gauthier.
Since up front it's clear that Gauthier and Pierre-Luc Dubois are virtual locks, the team will heavily rely on them for scoring. But Nicolas Roy and Mathieu Joseph have to win a spot at camp. Roy will have to earn a bottom-six role, while Joseph has to keep filling the net while donning the red and white.
The defensive competition is where it gets interesting.
Potentially joining Chabot on the blueline will be the league's leading scorer among defenseman, Samuel Girard, veteran Guillaume Brisebois and Rouyn-Noranda's pair of Jeremy Lauzon and Philippe Myers.
Thomas Chabot demonstrates his sensational talent with an end-to-end score reminiscent of Bobby Orr:
Thomas Chabot: Chabot has played like the best defenseman in the league since returning from the Ottawa Senators. It looks like that NHL experience has paid off, because his 1.5-point-per-game pace isn't even the best part of his game. Chabot executes a team system exceptionally well due to his all-around skill-set, and rises to the occasion. Two of his three goals are game-winners.
Saint-John Sea Dogs – 10 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 Pts
Samuel Girard: The dynamic offensive playmaker will have to fend off the likes of Kale Clague to lock down that PP specialist job. How well he can defend in Team Canada's system will determine how much ice he sees.
Shawinigan Cataractes – 21 GP, 4 G, 30 A, 34 Pts
Guillaume Brisebois: In his fourth year, Brisebois has become a dominant two-way presence night in and night out. He's well on pace to shatter last season's 26 points, and though his career plus-minus says otherwise, he's always been solid in his own zone. The third-year captain brings valuable intangibles that the coaching staff may look to include on this roster.
Charlottetown Islanders – 22 GP, 3 G, 13 A, 16 Pts
Jeremy Lauzon: His skating, size and first pass make him a desirable choice on the back end for this squad. While creating offense has never been an issue for Lauzon, it's his compete level that the coaching staff may have to include on this team. He competes every night, and left a good impression at last year's camp. Another 19-year-old could go a long way in offsetting the lack of returning experience.
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – 10 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 Pts
Phillipe Myers: Since returning from a concussion, the 6-5 tower of power has done nothing but produce for his Huskies. He's quite productive for a player NHL teams didn't deem good enough to use a draft pick on two years ago. The Flyers didn't sleep on him, and signed him as a free agent at the beginning of last season, and now the rest of the hockey world is starting to take notice, too. If he and Lauzon get paired together and hit the “ice” running, it will be hard to send either home.
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – 16 GP, 6 G, 9 A, 15 Pts
Follow me on Twitter @MikeBarrett_ for all things hockey.
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