It's interesting to note that two players eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft will play a part for Canadian National Junior Team coach Don Hay in the anticipated 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta., later this month.
| Tanner Pearson, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Not surprisingly, defenseman Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League will be looked upon to stabilize the back end. Meanwhile, forward Tanner Pearson of the Barrie Colts had really been ripping up the Ontario Hockey League prior to attending Canada's three-day selection camp. His inclusion on this team, particularly since he has quite the chemistry with Barrie teammate and Canada's likely top-line center Mark Scheifele
, isn't a surprise either.
Both players on Thursday were also invited to participate in the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game scheduled Feb. 1 in Kelowna, B.C. Pearson will play for Team Orr and Murray will dress for Team Cherry.
"Tanner has made a steady improvement each season," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "This season he has broken out and has led the league in scoring almost from the start of the season."
Pearson leads the OHL with 66 points, including 26 goals and 40 assists, through 30 games with the Colts this campaign.
"He's become a skilled forward with lots of finish around the net," Edwards said. "He has very good hands and can handle the puck very well in traffic. He also has very good play-making ability and sees the ice and passes the puck as well as anyone. He is creative and highly skilled."
No wonder Hockey Canada's managerial team opted to keep the 6-foot, 198-pound Pearson.
Three other players considered to be blue chip prospects were sent home, including defensemen Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels (WHL), Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67's (OHL) and forward Philliip Di Giuseppe of the University of Michigan. Dumba is rated No. 3 according to NHL Central Scouting's preliminary WHL list. Ceci is rated No. 10 in the OHL and Di Giuseppe is the lone 'A Watch Player' in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Murray is the second member of the Silvertips to represent Canada at the World Juniors. Goaltender Leland Irving
, currently in the Calgary Flames
organization, was a member of Canada's gold-medal squad in 2007. He has three goals and 7 points in 11 games this season for Everett.
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