8 WHLers named to Canada’s World Junior roster

Hockey Canada released the 31-player roster for their selection camp set to begin next Monday in Oakville, Ontario. Of the 31 players on the roster, the following eight players were selected from the WHL.

Invitees

Joel Hofer (Photo-Lucas Chudleigh Multimedia)

Joel Hofer, Portland Winterhawks

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, the 2000-born goaltender is in his third full season in the WHL. He’s played 23 games with the Winterhawks and has a WHL-leading 1.92 GAA and 16 wins. His save percentage of 0.935 is second behind division rival Dustin Wolf. His two shutouts have him tied for third place in that category with eight other goaltenders. If he makes the team, this will be his first time representing Canada internationally.

Calen Addison, Lethbridge Hurricanes 

Hailing from Brandon, Manitoba, Addison has been key to the Hurricanes’ hot start which has them third in the WHL as of this writing. He’s currently tied for third among defenseman in goals (7) and second in assists (19) and points (26). He has represented Canada once previously, at the 2017-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he recorded two goals and four assists in five games.

Bowen ByramVancouver Giants

Off to a bit of a rocky start with an underwhelming Vancouver Giants team, Byram should still be considered a lock for this team. Through 24 games, he’s potted three goals and 17 assists which has him among the top offensive performers on the Giants. This will be his third time representing Canada internationally. He has a total of 10 games of international experience with one goal and four assists.

Braden Schneider (Photo-Lucas Chudleigh Multimedia)

Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings

Schneider is one of two 2020 draft-eligible defensemen to be selected for the training camp in Oakville. He has three goals and 16 assists on an underachieving Wheat Kings roster. Should Schneider make the squad, it will be his fourth time representing Canada internationally. Previously, he captained Team Canada White at the U-17 championships. He also played in the U-18 championships and the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup this past summer.

Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs

Smith is one of three returnees from the team that was ousted in the quarterfinals last year. He is a first-round selection of the New Jersey Devils and was sent back to the Chiefs early. The 2000-born Smith has played in 18 games for the Chiefs this season and has four goals and 12 assists. International play is a specialty of Smith’s, as he has played in six tournaments for Team Canada throughout his career. He had three assists for Canada through five games last year.

Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes

Another first-round pick, Cozens went seventh overall to the Buffalo Sabres at last year’s draft. He’s currently third in WHL scoring with 18 goals and 22 assists on a surprising Lethbridge Hurricanes squad. Three times, Cozens has represented Canada internationally and has scored at a point-per-game pace in all three tournaments. The product of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and Addison are one of three pairs of players from the same team vying for a spot on the World Junior team for Canada.

Nolan Foote (Photo-Lucas Chudleigh Multimedia)

Nolan Foote, Kelowna Rockets

The captain of the Rockets has put up 30 points for the Memorial Cup hosts, a team fairing better than many had expected. The Tampa Bay Lightning first-round pick has played twice before internationally for Canada, despite being born in Colorado, USA. His dual citizenship has allowed him to choose between the two countries.

Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg ICE

Despite starting the season on the injured list, the Golden Knights draft pick has posted five points in five games, all assists. He is one of 12 first-round picks on the training camp roster. On three previous occasions, Krebs has represented Canada and has scored at a point-per-game pace in each of them. He was also captain of the U-18 team last year. The Calgary, AB, resident has scored 133 points in 142 WHL games.

“Snubs”

Jett Woo, Calgary Hitmen

The 2000-born defenseman is a second-round Vancouver Canucks pick. He is having a surprisingly down season after being dealt from the Moose Jaw Warriors. He has just 14 points in 25 games for the Hitmen. Woo has not represented Canada since 2016-17 when he played for both Team Canada White at the U-17s and Team Canada at the U-18s.

Connor Zary. Photo by Allen Douglas/Kamloops Blazers.

Connor Zary, Kamloops Blazers

The NHL Draft-eligible Zary is lighting the lamp in the WHL this season. He is fourth in WHL scoring with 39 points and has seen his draft stock rise to an ‘A’ in the last rankings put out by the Central Scouting Service. At U-18s, he was a point-per-game player, but did not play at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.

Adam Beckman, Spokane Chiefs

Another draft-eligible forward in the WHL, Beckman has quietly put up 38 points in 24 games with the Chiefs. Having never played internationally for Team Canada, it is not a surprise he was not on the radar of Hockey Canada. It could be that playing in a US market has stunted his recognition in Canada.

Carson Focht, Calgary Hitmen

Focht has only represented Canada once before, as a member of Team Canada White in 2016-17 at the U-17 tournament. He is an unsigned draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks but has really picked up his game in his two-plus seasons with the Hitmen.

Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw Warriors

The first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks has been on a tear of late. Sent back from Anaheim Ducks camp following an injury, the 2001-born Tracey has 22 points in 14 games with the Warriors since his return. He has twice represented Canada at the international level, including both the U-17 and U-18 tournaments. He had seven points in seven games at the U-18 tournament.

Needs to be released

Kirby Dach (Photo: CHL)

Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks / Saskatoon Blades

Interestingly, Dach has only represented Canada twice internationally but is playing in the NHL with the Blackhawks as a regular. He has 10 points in 20 games with the club after returning from concussion symptoms sustained in training camp. Dach appears unlikely to be released, and he’s also unlikely to return to the junior level this season.

Thanks to Paul Figler – DUBNetwork for the assist on this article

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