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Crouse among prospects invited to Canada WJC camp

by Adam Kimelman

Eight skaters ranked in the top 30 by NHL Central Scouting in its final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft were among the 40 players invited by Hockey Canada on Tuesday to attend a tryout camp in Calgary for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The camp will be held in Calgary from Aug. 1-6, and feature practices and exhibition games against the Czech Republic and Russia.

Among those invited to the camp were Kingston Frontenacs left wing Lawson Crouse, who was part of the team that won the gold medal at the 2015 WJC in Canada. Playing in mostly a fourth-line role, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward had one goal and two assists in seven games.

Crouse had 29 goals and 51 points in 56 games for Kingston this season and is No. 5 on Central Scouting's final ranking.

"He's a big-bodied guy, protects the puck and is solid on his skates," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He can see the ice and barrels through everyone. He's got good hands to go along with that big body."

Two other players in Central Scouting's top six were invited to the camp, centers Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters and Mitchell Marner of the London Knights.

Strome, No. 4 on Central Scouting's list, led the Ontario Hockey League with 129 points. Marner, No. 6 on the list, was second with 126.

Other top draft prospects invited were Seattle Thunderbirds center Mathew Barzal (No. 11), Ottawa 67's center Travis Konecny (No. 14), Swift Current Broncos left wing Jake DeBrusk (No. 19), Everett Silvertips defenseman Noah Juulsen (No. 22) and Kelowna Rockets right wing Nicholas Merkley (No. 23).

Also invited to the camp was Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood of the Barrie Colts. In 51 games this season he was 33-14-2 with a 3.09 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.

Ten players selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft were invited to the camp. Among them were two players picked by the Vancouver Canucks, forwards Jake Virtanen (No. 7) and Jared McCann (No. 24), and two players picked by the New York Islanders, forwards Michael Dal Colle (No. 5) and Joshua Ho-Sang (No. 28).

Val-d'Or Foreurs forward Julien Gauthier was the only player eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft invited to the camp. The 17-year-old, 6-3, 217-pound right wing had 38 goals and 73 points in 68 games this season.

The 2016 WJC will be held Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Helsinki, Finland. Dave Lowry, coach of the Victoria Royals, will coach the team. Assistant coaches are Kelly McCrimmon, coach and general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings; Dominique Ducharme, coach of the Halifax Mooseheads; and Martin Raymond, coach of the Drummondville Voltiguers.



GOALIES: Mackenzie Blackwood, Barrie, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Mason McDonald, Charlottetown, QMJHL (Calgary Flames), Samuel Montembeault, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL (2015 draft eligible).

DEFENSEMEN: Alexandre Carrier, Gatineau, QMJHL (2015 draft eligible); Travis Dermott, Erie, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Vince Dunn, Niagara, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Haydn Fleury, Red Deer, WHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Joe Hicketts, Victoria, WHL (Detroit Red Wings); Brandon Hickey, Boston University, H-EAST (Calgary Flames); Noah Juulsen, Everett, WHL (2015 draft eligible); Olivier Leblanc, Cape Breton, QMJHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Roland McKeown, Kingston, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke, QMJHL (2015 draft eligible); Travis Sanheim, Calgary, WHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Mitchell Vande Sompel, Oshawa, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Jake Walman, Providence, H-EAST (St. Louis Blues).

FORWARDS: Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Val-d'Or, QMJHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Mathew Barzal, Seattle, WHL (2015 draft eligible); Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan, QMJHL (2015 draft eligible); Conner Bleackley, Red Deer, WHL (Colorado Avalanche); Rourke Chartier, Kelowna, WHL (San Jose Sharks); Lawson Crouse, Kingston, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa, OHL (New York Islanders); Jake DeBrusk, Swift Current, WHL (2015 draft eligible); Robby Fabbri, Guelph, OHL (St. Louis Blues); Julien Gauthier, Val-d'Or, QMJHL (2016 draft eligible); Jayce Hawryluk, Brandon, WHL (Florida Panthers); Joshua Ho-Sang, Niagara, OHL (New York Islanders); Travis Konecny, Ottawa, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Mitchell Marner, London, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Vancouver Canucks); Nicholas Merkley, Kelowna, WHL (2015 draft eligible); Brendan Perlini, Niagara, OHL (Arizona Coyotes); Brayden Point, Moose Jaw, WHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); John Quenneville, Brandon, WHL (New Jersey Devils); Dylan Sadowy, Saginaw, OHL (San Jose Sharks); Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Dylan Strome, Erie, OHL (2015 draft eligible); Jake Virtanen, Calgary, WHL (Vancouver Canucks); Spencer Watson, Kingston, OHL (Los Angeles Kings).

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