It’s hard to figure out who got the best of the Team Canada World Junior cuts on Thursday evening.
Flames sixth round pick – and WHL playoff MVP – Laurent Brossoit was the last goaltender cut from the selection camp roster, despite allowing only two goals all week. Remaining in camp (and soon to head to Europe) are Malcolm Subban, Jordan Binnington and Jake Paterson.
Subban was shaky, but was considered the presumptive number-one goalie headed in. Despite some hiccups in camp, he’s been excellent all year in the OHL and was great both in the summer Summit Series and the Subway Super Series. Brossoit’s uneven performances early in the year and in his summer starts likely weren’t going to oust Subban, despite him out-dueling him this week.
Beyond that, the main question appeared to be whether it would be useful to bring along a 19-year-old Brossoit to Russia when he wasn’t going to be playing. Binnington is the likely back-up and has better numbers this year than Brossoit, while Paterson is just 18 and will benefit from the experience of the trip.
Meanwhile, Brossoit’s old atom teammate Tyler Wotherspoon? Instead of heading back to his junior team, he’s off to Ufa, Russia as one of Canada’s seven blueliners. Also donning the maple leaf are Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harrington, Ryan Murphy, Xavier Ouellet, Griffin Reinhart and Morgan Reilly. Wotherspoon is the lowest-draft pick of all the Canada defenders, but played his way onto the team the same way he’s become one of the CHL’s tippity-top players in plus/minus – smartly and simply.
Meat and Potatoes
Wotherspoon plays a no-frills game and doesn’t have amazing wheels, but he’s always in the right place to make the smart play, and that makes him potentially invaluable to a Team Canada club boasting some dynamic offensive defenders. The fact that Wotherspoon made the team and some first round picks (like Mathew Dumba and Derrick Pouliot) didn’t shows how far he’s progressed since being drafted and how effective he’s become at what he does.
So Brossoit heads back to Edmonton and Wotherspoon heads off to Russia. It makes you wonder which is a nicer place to spend your holiday season.