National junior team selection camps can be the ultimate pressurizer, but John Davidson doesn't think Boone Jenner has much to sweat over.
Hockey Canada is in the process of finalizing its roster for the 2013 World Junior tournament in Russia, and this week, the stakes are raised as the governing body of Canadian hockey makes its first round of cuts. Five players were cut, including Pittsburgh Penguins first-round pick (2012) Derrick Pouliot, leaving the camp roster at 31 players.
Twenty-three players in total (13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders) will travel with Team Canada to Ufa, Russia for the tournament, and Jenner is almost certain to be among that group.
It would be his second consecutive year representing Canada at the World Junior, and he proved last year that he can be an impactful player on the world's stage.
"He's a real key ingredient -- a big time ingredient -- for Team Canada, no question," Davidson told BlueJackets.com today. "I think his role will be somewhat similar to what he's played this year with Oshawa. He's a mature player for his age, he's got the experience of having played in this tournament last winter.
"He provides a lot of energy, and which you start to package that all together and look at a short-term tournament, you have to like that."
Since joining the Blue Jackets as president of hockey operations in October, Davidson has seen a lot of Jenner and has raved about his hockey sense -- something the new boss holds in high regard with prospects.
Davidson is spending the week in Calgary with members the Blue Jackets hockey operations staff, including GM Scott Howson, assistant GM Chris MacFarland, director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright and amateur scout Andy Schneider (who scouts western Canada).
They watched an intrasquad game earlier in the week with about 40 players participating, and also watched one group of players in a scrimmage against the University of Alberta yesterday. After that, they took a brief trip to Edmonton to watch the WHL's Oil Kings take on the Kamloops Blazers, a game featuring several draft-eligible players.
"It's hockey all the time, and it's been really good for us," Davidson said. "And we know this situation doesn't come along too often where you have three first-rounders in one draft, so we really have a full understanding of that and what it means to the franchise.
"That means really, really getting into the work to prepare for the draft. It's become a worldwide game and a game where you have to get places and do things."
And on the Blue Jackets end of things, Davidson is excited to see what Jenner can provide to a deep, talented Canadian club that features names like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Strome, Mark Scheifele and Jonathan Huberdeau -- all top prospects with bright NHL futures.
Jenner has taken a step offensively this season with 27 goals (tied for the OHL lead) and proven that he can be a versatile contributor at both ends of the rink, which Davidson sees as yet another weapon added to his arsenal.
"He provides a lot of energy, and which you start to package that all together and look at a short-term tournament, you have to like that," Davidson said. "He can play the wing if necessary, and he can be a physical 'F1' forechecker for them. He can play on the power play, and you can see he's scored 27 goals which is amongst the leaders for that entire league.
"He's just a real key for their hockey club at the World Junior."