While it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, Team Canada is dominating at the World Juniors.
After a hard-fought win over Russia on December 26, Canada easily beat Slovakia 5-0 on Tuesday night. The Canadian goalie, Lightning prospect Connor Ingram, had a six-save shutout. Bruins defensive prospect Jérémy Lauzon, who began the tournament as Canada’s seventh defenseman, scored a goal and an assist in the second period to spark the offence and begin the onslaught.
However, another Canadian defenseman has been getting some love as an underdog story. Philippe Myers went undrafted in 2015, but earned an entry-level contract after attending Philadelphia Flyers training camp on an amateur tryout. Myers then had a 45-point campaign in the QMJHL and has 18 points in 19 games this season. The 6’5 right-handed defenseman is now playing on Canada’s top pairing with 2015 first-round-pick Thomas Chabot.
As for why Myers was passed over in the draft, with the value of right-handed defensemen at an all-time high, that’s something that Flyers GM Ron Hextall would like to know. Hextall told Postmedia’s Mike Zeisberger that he didn’t ask his scouting staff why they didn’t take him, but instead wanted to learn from the experience. With Myers tracking well, all 30 NHL teams will be wondering how Myers slipped through the draft. “I’m more trying to figure out how the hell that happened,” Hextall added.
Myers gave advice for all other undrafted players, saying “it’s all about your attitude and your mindset. If you see yourself playing at the bigger levels and you really believe it and you put the work in, everything’s possible. That’s what happened with me.”
- Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Matthew Peca (no relation to Michael) will make his NHL debut tonight at home versus the Montreal Canadiens. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Peca centered J.T. Brown and Michael Bournival at practice this morning.The 2011 seventh-round-pick has 17 points in 28 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season. Meanwhile, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat are both considered “probable” for the Lightning after missing the past two weeks or so.
- With Zack Smith sidelined by an upper-body injury, the Senators have recalled Casey Bailey, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. Smith left Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers. Bailey has 14 points in 28 games with the Binghamton Senators so far this season, but has been held pointless in two NHL games. Bailey was acquired by the Senators as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade.