Three Detroit Red Wings prospects were invited to Team Canada’s selection camp for the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Championships. Two 2011 second round choices, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul, and Jake Paterson, a 2012 pick, were invited to a camp that features the top young Canadian talent from the three major junior leagues. The lockout has made many prospects that might otherwise have been seeing NHL time available, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, who will be allowed to leave his AHL team for the tournament.
Ouellet is a defenseman in his fourth junior season and second with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL. He had the best season of his career in 2011-12, scoring 21 goals and notching 60 points. He is averaging almost a point per game this season and should have a very good chance of making the final roster.
Sproul, also a defenseman, has looked good in limited time this season with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He scored 23 goals last season and continues to improve all aspects of his game. Despite averaging over a point per game this season, he will face an uphill battle to make the final roster, as top prospects Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs), Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh Penguins), Ryan Murphy (Carolina Hurricanes), Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders) and Ouellet are likely ahead of him on the depth chart.
Paterson, a goaltender for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, will face long odds to make the team, but the invite itself is a nod to how well he has performed this season. He played well for the Spirit in last season’s playoffs, helping the team past the Sarnia Sting and top draft pick Nail Yakupov. Paterson holds a 10-11-3 record this season. Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban, Calgary Flames prospect Laurent Brossoit and St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Binnington are considered locks to make the team.
The World Junior Championships take place in Ufa, Russia, beginning on Dec. 26.