The World Junior Championship is just over a month away, and the selection camp for Team Canada will begin on December 10th in Victoria, British Columbia. That camp will decide who takes part in the top junior tournament in the world, and there are already projections being made on who will be attending. Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet breaks down who he believes will be there battling for roster spots, and the group includes plenty of already drafted NHL prospects. Evan Bouchard (Oilers), Noah Dobson (Islanders) and Ty Smith (Devils) highlight an impressive blue line, while Alex Formenton (Senators), Cody Glass (Golden Knights) and Morgan Frost (Flyers) appear in a forward group that is going to have to cut some extremely talented prospects.
Perhaps most notably is the appearance of Alexis Lafreniere, who isn’t eligible for selection until 2020 but is the early favorite to go first overall. Even though he only turned 17 last month, Lafreniere already has 54 goals and 116 points in 81 regular season QMJHL games. Players as young as him often get left out of tournaments like this given they’ll have other chances in the future, but the Canadian brain trust may just have to bring him along like they have other exceptional talents in the past.
- Injury season is alive and well in the NHL, and the Edmonton Oilers aren’t going to be left out. Tobias Rieder will be out a month with an upper-body injury, taking away some wing depth for the team as they try to get things back on track after a few hiccups in recent games. Edmonton had lost four straight before defeating the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, and are getting ready for a Battle of Alberta against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. The team recalled Patrick Russell earlier today, conspicuously leaving Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto in the minor leagues.
- After Jokerit acquired the rights to Kristian Vesalainen from SKA St. Petersburg today in the KHL, a report surfaced that the Winnipeg Jets prospect would be leaving the Manitoba Moose to return to Finland next week. Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun did confirm that Vesalainen has an out clause in his contract for this season, but couldn’t get any confirmation from the team or head coach Paul Maurice. The 19-year old forward has played five games with the Jets and eight with the Moose this season, but does have the option to go overseas if he wants to spend this season back in Finland. That outcome obviously wouldn’t be ideal for Winnipeg, who would likely much rather have him close at hand to watch over his development.