Top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Frederik Gauthier, Jason Dickinson, Morgan Klimchuk, Shea Theodore and Joshua Morrissey were among 24 players invited by Hockey Canada on Friday to attend a training camp for a spot on Canada's roster for the 2013 World Under-18 Tournament.
Camp will be held April 6-10 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto. The tournament will be held April 18-28 in Sochi, Russia.
Canada won the bronze medal at last year's tournament, its first medal of any kind since winning the gold in 2008. The United States has won four straight years.
2013 CANADA WORLD U-18 CAMP
DEFENSEMEN: Dillon Heatherington*, Swift Current (WHL); Joe Hicketts, Victoria (WHL); Dylan Labbe*, Shawinigan (QMJHL); Darnell Nurse*^, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL); Roland McKeown, Kingston (OHL); Samuel Morin*, Rimouski (QMJHL); Joshua Morrissey*, Prince Albert (WHL); Shea Theodore*, Seattle (WHL)
FORWARDS: Sam Bennett, Kingston (OHL); Clark Bishop, Cape Breton (QMJHL), Laurent Dauphin*, Chicoutimi (QMJHL); Jason Dickinson*, Guelph (OHL); Hunter Garlent*, Guelph (OHL); Frederik Gauthier*, Rimouski (QMJHL); Yan-Pavel Laplante*, PEI (QMJHL); Morgan Klimchuk*, Regina (WHL); Connor McDavid, Erie (OHL); Alexis Pepin, PEI (QMJHL); Brayden Point, Moose Jaw (WHL); Sam Reinhart, Kootenay (WHL); Nick Ritchie, Peterborough (OHL)
*- eligible for 2013 NHL Draft^- unable to attend camp
Gauthier, a center with Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is No. 7 on Central Scouting's rankings. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound center had 60 points in 62 games and a plus-22 rating. He is highly regarded for his ability to produce offense as well as excel in the defensive zone.
"He's unbelievable for a young guy like that," Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau told NHL.com. "He can play defense. He's a big kid like that, the first player back, gets the puck, turns the play around and goes the other way. Hockey sense, he can shoot the puck, read the ice. He's a natural talent also."
Dickinson, a 6-foot-1.25, 179-pound center, had 47 points and a plus-19 rating in 66 games for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League this season. He's No. 16 on Central Scouting's list.
Klimchuk, No. 24 on Central Scouting's rankings, had 36 goals and 76 points in 72 games for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League.
Morrissey and Theodore are highly regarded WHL defensemen. Morrissey, who plays for the Prince Albert Raiders, had 15 goals and 47 points in 70 games and is No. 11 on Central Scouting's list.
Theodore, No. 17, had 19 goals and 50 points in 71 games.
Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse, Central Scouting's No. 9-ranked skater, also was invited to the camp but will be unable to attend.
In all, 15 of the 24 players invited are eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft. Also invited were the frontrunners to be the top picks of the 2014 and 2015 NHL Drafts.
Center Sam Reinhart led the Kootenay Ice of the WHL in goals (30), assists (50) and points (85), and has moved into the favorite to be the first player picked in next year's draft, which will be held in Philadelphia.
Center Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters, recently named OHL Rookie of the Year, also was invited to the tryout camp. The 16-year-old led all first-year OHL players with 41 assists and was second with 66 points. He's a candidate to be the first player picked in the 2015 NHL Draft.