MONTREAL – Buffalo might not be the preferred vacation destination for most people this holiday season, but come late December, it’s exactly where three Habs prospects are hoping to be.
With less than a month to go before the puck drops in upstate New York, Hockey Canada announced on Monday their list of 39 players who will be invited to take part in the final step of the selection process for the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships. Among those making the cut are Habs hopefuls Louis Leblanc
, Brendan Gallagher
and Michael Bournival
It’s no surprise to see Leblanc’s name on the list of potential candidates. After a standout performance at Hockey Canada’s summer evaluation camp, the Canadiens’ 2009 first-round draft pick earned his way to the top of the QMJHL leaderboard with 28 points for the Montreal Juniors this year. Among the last cuts last December, this will mark the second-straight year the Pointe Claire native will be taking part in the final camp before the big tournament.
Gallagher has also been turning some heads since the start of the campaign with the Vancouver Giants. With 22 goals and 38 points, the 18-year-old winger is currently among the WHL’s leading scorers. Drafted by the Canadiens 147th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, this will be Gallagher’s first time vying for a final spot on Team Canada’s roster.
Unlike Leblanc and Gallagher, Bournival wasn’t among the group of junior stars invited to the summer evaluation camp in Newfoundland. Acquired by the Habs in the Ryan O’Byrne trade a few weeks ago, the Shawinigan Cataractes centerman earned his invite by posting an impressive 31 points already this year. Bournival was drafted 71st overall by the Avalanche this past June in Los Angeles.
The final evaluation camp will take place from December 11 to 15 in Toronto and Team Canada will officially kick off the World Juniors on Boxing Day with a 22 man roster.
In recent years, a handful of Habs prospects have made their mark in the Maple Leaf, including P.K. Subban
(2008 and 2009), Carey Price
(2007), Kyle Chipchura (2006) and Guillaume Latendresse (2006), all of whom won gold for Canada at the tournament. Hugo Fontaine is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.SEE ALSO
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