Flames send six to World Junior camps

After weeks of anticipation, six Calgary Flames prospects got the call from their respective countries. Each player was invited to try out for his respective Under-20 National team to represent them at this December’s IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Ufa, Russia.

Laurent Brossoit – Team Canada

2011 sixth round selection Laurent Brossoit, currently with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, will be vying for a spot between the pipes for Team Canada. The 19-year-old product of Surrey, British Columbia suited up for Team Canada at the summer Summit Series in Russia and for Team WHL at the Subway Super Series last month. He also represented Team Pacific at 2009 U-17 Tournament, was named WHL playoff MVP last season en route to a championship, and played in the Memorial Cup.

In terms of big-game experience, none of Canada’s four prospective goaltenders has his resume.

Tyler Wotherspoon – Team Canada

2011 second round selection Tyler Wotherspoon will be fighing for one of seven blueline spots for Canada. A resident of Surrey and a childhood pal of Brossoit, Wotherspoon really jumped ahead on the WHL’s depth charts due to his partnership with likely Team USA stalwart and top rated prospect Seth Jones in Portland.

The Winterhawks blueliner has had a decent offensive year (3 goals, 21 points), but is mostly known for playing a solid, often physical, defensive game. Despite that, he has only taken two minor penalties this season and is among the CHL’s leaders with a plus-34 rating. His big-game experience includes trips to the WHL finals in each of the last two seasons and an appearance with Team Pacific at the 2009 U-17s.

Markus Granlund – Team Finland

The other 2011 second round pick (both acquired in the Tim Erixon trade) is Markus Granlund, who’ll be looking to return to Finland’s junior club. Granlund hasn’t had an amazing offensive year in SM-Liiga without big brother Mikael (just 12 points in 25 games), currently in the AHL with Houston, but he’s got a ton of international experience. He’s played in the U-17s, two U-18s and was on last year’s Finnish national junior team.

Jon Gillies – Team USA

Calgary’s 2012 third round choice, Jon Gillies will be one of three goalies for Team USA. Depending on the condition of likely American starter John Gibson, Gillies may play a game or two. While he has no international experience, Gillies has been lights-out for Providence College in the NCAA as an 18-year-old (14 games played. .930 SV%). The New Hampshire native will most likely get a lot more offensive support with the American team than he does with his college team.

Patrick Sieloff – Team USA

In a bit of a surprise, Windsor Spitfires blueliner (and 2012 second round pick) Patrick Sieloff is on the preliminary roster for the United States’ entry. From the Detroit area, Sieloff has been a big physical presence for a middling Spits club. He has also represented his country at the U-17s and U-18s, where he won silver and gold medals, respectively. An alternate captain last year at the U-18s, Sieloff may bring a combination of leadership and physicality that is often missing from international tournaments.

Johnny Gaudreau – Team USA

Finally, to the shock of precisely nobody, Johnny Gaudreau was invited to Team USA’s camp. The 19-year-old product of Carney’s Point, New Jersey has had a fantastic couple of years. He won a USHL championship, was drafted by the Calgary Flames, was a point-per-game player in his freshman year with Boston College, won both the conference and national championships, and was the MVP of his conference’s playoff tournament. His only set-back? Being one of the last cuts at last year’s World Junior camp. Somehow I doubt that happens again.

Final rosters for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships are expected to be named just before Christmas. The tournament begins on December 26, with the gold medal game going January 5. We’ll definitely have lots of coverage of whatever Flames prospects end up heading over to Ufa for the tournament.

Flames WJC Hopefuls Series

  • Vintage Flame

    I would say that Gaudreau is a shoe-in. Gillies has a very good shot at making it, and Sieloff will get a good look for the US.

    Granlund should also be in that “penned-in” category for the Finns.

    Canada will be the interesting one.

    Brossoit deserves to be there, but I wonder if his “making it”, might have more politics behind it, just because of the depth Canada has in goal.

    Wotherspoon is the one that I think is really iffy. I’d love to see him there but when they are talking about guys like Dumba being on the bubble, then you have to think Tyler is there as well. Let’s all hope he has a great camp, and really shows the selection committee something special.

  • With apologies to the other prospects and Team Canada, I’ll be watching this WJC primarily for Johnny G playing, especially because he might end up on a line with Alex Galchenyuk (49 points in 29 games in the OHL so far).

    • SmellOfVictory

      I’d say that goes for everyone, except maybe JustinAzevedo (only person I can think of who might be more interested in the goalies than skaters). I still want Canada to win gold, especially if Brossoit ends up in net, but my major preference is seeing Gaudreau light up all countries, Canada included (preferably not with Brossoit in net).

      Also on Sieloff, there was an article in the Herald on him, and in the pics he looks strikingly like a younger Cory Sarich. I’ve begun to believe that he’s Sarich reincarnate (albeit substantially better on his skates and a tad smaller), which would be totally okay by me.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I honestly cannot wait for the WJC. With the lockout, my hunger for this tournament is at an all time high, especially with actually seeing Flames prospects playing in it this year.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Kent, Gillies has a .930 sv%, not .903. Typo?

    I think Sieloff has a decent shot at the US team. For me, the locks are Jones, Trouba, Skjei, Murphy, and Gostisbehere, which means Sieloff is competing directly with McCabe, Grzelcyk, and Reilly for the last 2 spots. With Gostisbehere on the team, they would want at most 1 more small offensive guy, and if they take either Grzelcyk or Reilly, that means they might want grit–which gives Sieloff an edge over McCabe.

  • Truculence

    I hope the Flames prospects that do make it perform well, but those that play against Team Canada can go to hell. I want the team that represents my country to do well first. The flames prospects can shine when and if they actually become Flames players.

  • AF

    Well, I’m hoping Laurent Brossoit will shine in goal and bring home Canada a gold medal. Wotherspoon has a shot at making the team, maybe third pairing.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Gaudreau play for the first time.

    I’ll be cheering for Canada but I’m hoping they match up against the States for the gold.

  • BurningSensation

    If I recall correctly the Flames have not sent that many prospects in a while to various camps. Ortio and Nemisz come to mind, but my memory on recent Flame prospects making WJC rosters is shoddy.

    Is their a comp for # and quality this year vs the last 5-10?

      • BurningSensation

        forgot Erixon, Irving (played 0 minutes; Price’s backup), Boyd, Nystrom, Ramage, Aulie (remarkably. Unsurprisingly, he was terrible), Wahl.

        Brodie would have made it at least once, but Canada had a ridiculously good blueline in both his eligible seasons (guys like Subban, Pietrangelo, Myers, Ellis, De Haan, Cowen, Teubert, and Hamonic).

  • McRib

    According to USA Coach Phil Housley, it looks like he is one of a growing list of people who are fan’s of Pat Sieloff’s game. Honestly wasn’t very happy that we used a second round pick on Sieloff (How many defensive defenseman does our organization need?) in June’s draft, but after watching him in a recent Friday Night Hockey on Sportsnet he impressed the hell out of me. He is a much better skater than I expected and loved his heads up play and positioning. Looks like he is almost a lock from what Housley has said.

    Also Gillies is a lock to make the team as at least the third netminder. Considering that the US only invited three netminders to camp and like Canada plan on taking as many overseas.

    Considering Gaudreauby Baker is a first line lock Calgary will be well represented by the USA.

  • McRib

    Interested to see how Wotherspoon does as he has been lights out for Portland playing with Jones and might win a shutdown spot. His biggest competition is Xavier Ouellet and Griffin Reinhart one of which has had a very mediocre season in Edmonton and the other is coming off injury. Still cannot believe that Reinhart went 4th ahead of Morgan Reilly… Outside of the family name, all I see is a big 6-4 200 Pound softy, who’s offensive numbers have tapered off since his 16 year-old season.

    Think Wotherspoon might suprise some people and make the team as every year Canada suprises by taking one or two shutdown specific defenders. Case in point Scott Harrington last year also like when Danny Syvret made it over Mike Green in 2005.

    After redeeming himself in the Subway Series after a lousy Memorial Cup and Russia vs. Canada super series, Laurent Brossoit would have to play his way out of a Top Two spot.