Hockey Canada released their invite list to their selection camp which will be held Dec. 11-13, 2012 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. The New York Islanders are represented by forward Ryan Strome (2011 1st) and defensemen Griffin Reinhart (2012 1st) and Adam Pelech (2012 3rd).
Strome was a member of last year's bronze medal team and is considered a lock for the team provided the NHL and NHLPA does not reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. Reinhart is also seen as a heavy favorite to make the team.
Adam Pelech is a long shot to earn a roster spot with 12 invites and only at most 8 will be kept. Pelech will need a strong camp as well as some help from the more offensive minded defensemen who might make Pelech a need to cover for defensive weaknesses.
For the Rangers, none of their prospects were invited and the only one who might have had a shot, Michael St. Croix just did not make a strong enough push in the last month to earn an invite. Not being invited doesn't mean you are a bad player but rather it is more about what you could offer.
St. Croix while I could make a case for a power play specialist was more a victim of others having a stronger season so far. At the same time, St. Croix will have a chance to be more of a leader for Edmonton while Reinhart is away.
Calle Andersson (NYR 2012 4th) was not selected for Sweden's selection camp and that is a bit of a surprise given that he had played for the Under-20 team in 6 games this year. For now Andersson is considered as a "reserve" for invitation should other defensive player get injured.
No New York Islander prospect was selected
Denmark does not play in this year's top group after being relegated to Division 1 Group A after last year's appearance in the top group. This group will play their tournament in Ameins France starting on Sunday.
The official roster has not been announced but it would be a shocker if Thomas Spelling (NYR 2012 6th) is not on it. Spelling who is playing for Rogle in Sweden has spent most of his year playing on Rogle's Under-20 team with respectable numbers (9-15-24 in 20 games) while only playing in 5 games with the senior team.
Oliver Bjorkstrand of the Portland Winterhawks is another player who should be on Denmark's roster when the tournament gets underway on Sunday.
Team USA will announce their team on the USA Hockey website tomorrow at 10 AM EDT and then things will get interesting. The USA team will hold the selection portion of the camp at the New York Ranger's training facility from Dec. 16th-18th before heading to Europe.
It is known that Team USA would like to have J.T. Miller (2011 1st)on the team as one of the few experienced returning players on their roster. The question is will the Rangers release Miller to play for Team USA?
In 20 games, Miller has not put up great numbers with the CT Whale but would playing for Team USA help or hurt Miller's development? If I was Glen Sather I would not release Miller unless I was planning to return Miller back to the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.
If Sather wants Miller to play for the Whale the entire season then no don't release him to go play in Russia. For starters, the travel as well as schedule do not offer Miller a chance to improve his development.
If Miller was going to be sent back to Plymouth then let him attend the tournament as a confidence booster to help him get over being demoted. The next question is which Ranger prospects would get an invite then?
Forget numbers and think of what they can offer and you invited Brady Skjei (2012 1st) and Steven Fogarty (2011 3rd) because they are big bodies who stress defense and don't mind playing the dirty job roles.
Skjei has been the partner of Seth Jones during the last few international competitions and they both rave about playing with the other. If it was me then I want Skjei so I can use his defensive skills against the other team's best offensive players as well as killing penalties.
Steven Fogarty is your 4th line player who you can use to fill into gaps as needed. Again just like Skjei, Fogarty is someone who you want playing defense against the other team's best.
And while his numbers don't say so this year, Fogarty has a past where you use him on the power play to set up shop in the crease. There is one Islander who really deserves an invite and that is Robbie Russo (2011 4th) who has played well for Notre Dame this season.
I want Russo mainly to play point on the power play as he is Notre Dame's 3rd leading scorer this season. Russo has been cut the last couple of years but very much deserves another look.