The World Junior Championship is just a few weeks away and Team Canada has started making cuts. After sending home five players earlier this week who were deemed unfit to play because of COVID-19 tests or close contact, seven more were cut today. Brett Brochu, Tristan Lennox, Adam Beckman, Tyson Foerster, Hendrix Lapierre, Cole Schwindt, and Shane Wright will not be taking part in the tournament this year. That still leaves Canada with 34 players at their selection camp, meaning nine more will be cut before submitting the final roster.
The headline name here is Wright, though he was always a longshot to make the team this year. The 16-year-old would have been one of the youngest to ever play for Team Canada at the U20 event, but instead, he’ll have to wait a year and go as a 17-year-old next year. The potential first overall pick in 2022 was granted exceptional status to enter the OHL a year early and scored 66 points in 58 games for the Kingston Frontenacs. That earned him the CHL Rookie of the Year award and the honor of being the youngest player in OHL history to wear an “A” as an alternate captain.
One other name that may catch the eye is Lapierre, who was picked 22nd overall by the Washington Capitals this year. The 18-year-old forward was once considered to be in the running for the top few selections, but head and neck injuries have slowed his development considerably. He too will likely get another chance to go next year should he have a full healthy season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
With two goaltenders cut today, one can assume that the position is set with the three names remaining in camp. Dylan Garand, Taylor Gauthier and Devon Levi will be the team’s goaltending trio, though no starter has yet been named. For all the firepower that the Canadians possess upfront and skill on the back end, the goaltending position is still something of a question mark without that star prospect. Gauthier wasn’t drafted at all, while Levi was a seventh-round pick out of the CCHL.