McDonald & Hickey Make Team Canada

The 2014 NHL Draft probably already seems like a success for the Calgary Flames considering that Sam Bennett, their first round pick, is already an NHL regular. The announcement of Team Canada’s roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship probably makes that draft class seem even better.

2014 second round pick Mason McDonald and 2014 third round pick Brandon Hickey were named to the roster for the tournament, which kicks off on Boxing Day in scenic Helsinki, Finland.

The first netminder chosen by any team in the 2014 Draft, McDonald went 34th overall and has carved out a reputation for himself as a pretty solid netminder for the Charlottetown Islanders over the past couple of seasons. He signed an entry-level contract with the Flames in the spring and he is eligible to play pro hockey next year since he’ll be 20. He’s tall, mechanically sound as a netminder, and had a strong reputation within Hockey Canada circles based on his pre-draft performances during the U18 tournament. McDonald is expected to be the starting goaltender for Team Canada, at least when the tournament begins.

Hickey’s inclusion is a bit of a surprise given Hockey Canada’s historic inclination towards Canadian Hockey League players – Hickey plays for the NCAA’s Boston University Terriers – but Hickey impressed at the August Summer Showcase event with his excellent skating and mobility. He’s a defensive defender and really uses his speed well to angle attackers away from shooting and passing lanes. He was drafted 64th overall in the 2014 Draft.

2014 sixth round pick Adam Ollas Mattsson remains in camp for Sweden, though the Tre Kronor have yet to announce their final tournament roster, so there’s the potential for three Flames 2014 picks to be in action at the tournament.