The last Canucks prospect to play for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship didn’t fare too well. Jake Virtanen was expected to be an offensive leader on the 2016 team after a solid 2015 tournament in a supporting role. Instead, he and Team Canada crashed and burned, falling to the eventual gold medalists Finland in the quarterfinals.
Canucks prospects will hope for a better result in the 2018 tournament. The Canucks could have as many as three prospects playing for Team Canada, as Michael DiPietro, Jonah Gadjovich, and Kole Lind have all been invited to the Canadian National Junior Team development camp.
DiPietro is the youngest of the four goaltenders invited, but still has a strong case for making Canada’s final roster in December, with strong international performances in the Under-17 championships and the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Carter Hart is the incumbent, with a World Junior silver medal already under his belt, which is, admittedly, a strange place to keep a medal.
Gadjovich has no international experience, but a 46-goal, 74-point season at 6’2”, 200+ lbs will get you noticed. He’ll be in tough, with a lot of returning players boasting similar size, but another goal-filled season for Owen Sound will make it difficult to leave him off the roster.
Lind isn’t listed on the camp roster just yet, as he was a late addition. Like Gadjovich, he has no international experience, which puts him behind the 8-ball, but Canada would be foolish to leave one of the top scorers in the WHL off of their camp roster.
All three will presumably play in the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, MI, which runs from July 28th to August 5th, featuring games between split-squad American and Canadian teams, as well as teams from Finland and Sweden.
They won’t be the only Canucks prospects participating. Will Lockwood, their 2016 3rd round pick, is on the USA development camp roster after a strong freshman season at the University of Michigan, while Olli Juolevi and Elias Pettersson will presumably represent Finland and Sweden, though their rosters have yet to be released.
TSN broadcast the last World Junior summer showcase, but they have yet to indicate they will be doing so again this year.