It’s that time of year again! And no, I’m not just talking about the Holiday season.
On December 3rd, Hockey Canada officially announced the selection camp roster for the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships. At exactly that moment, most hockey fans, including myself, started preparing for the tournament.
I had the honour of being part of the coaching staff invited by Hockey Canada to evaluate the goaltenders invited to the Program of Excellence World Junior Summer Evaluation Camp this past June in Calgary.
Here are some quick thoughts on each of the goalies invited to main camp in Calgary:
Jordan Binnington (Third round, 88th overall, St. Louis Blues, 2011)
6’2”, 160 pounds, Owen Sound Attack – OHL
Binnington enters camp as arguably the hottest goaltender in the OHL. He didn’t face many shots during Team OHL’s 2-1 win over Team Russia in Game 2 of the Subway Super Series, but when he did, Binnginton was sharp. Binnington has quick hands and feet, and knows how to use his frame to cover the top half of the net.
Laurent Broissoit (Sixth round, 164th overall, Calgary Flames, 2011)
6’3”, 200 pounds, Edmonton Oil Kings – WHL
Broissoit is a big body, covers a lot of net, and moves very well on his skates. His experience at the 2011 Memorial Cup (where he earned playoff MVP honours with the WHL champion Oil Kings) and strong play versus Team Russia during the Subway Super Series – a 30-save shutout, including stopping three shoot out attempts – will definitely add confidence to his game.
Jake Paterson (Third round, 80th overall, Detroit Red Wings, 2012)
6’0”, 176 pounds, Saginaw Spirit – OHL
The Detroit Red Wings draft pick hit the ground running in the OHL – and has never looked back! Last year, as a 17-year old, Paterson put up strong numbers and was often the reason why the Spirit had any chance of winning games. Paterson is a very athletic goalie who has sharpened up some technical skills noticeably this season. He performed well during his time in net during the Subway Super Series (8 shots, 7 saves) for Team OHL.
Malcolm Subban (First round, 24th overall, Boston Bruins, 2012)
6’1”, 195 lbs, Belleville Bulls – OHL
The Boston Bruins first round pick has the size, quickness and power to be a big time player for Team Canada. Subban’s international experience at the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championships and strong record during shootouts are positive footnotes as he enters the next level of international play. In the months leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Subban was already penciled in by many hockey experts to be the Canada’s starting goalie. Heading into main camp, that type of recognition still exists, and speaks to how he has consistently elevated his game since the start of the season.
One important factor to keep in mind wen considering goaltenders for the World Junior team – consider the mental side of the game. Often playing behind the best group of defensemen in the tournament, Team Canada’s goaltenders are very rarely called upon to make 40 or 50 saves.
While it will be important for whoever is in nets to be mentally ready for the full 60 minutes, and possibly more during the elimination rounds, it is important to consider who can come up with the big save against world class players on teams like the U.S., Sweden, Finland and, of course, Russia, after enduring periods of little to no action.
Congratulations Jordan, Malcolm, Laurent and Jake!
Wishing you all the very best of luck at main camp.