January 7, 2018
This year’s Canada Team at the World Juniors has been characterized as a team with a lot of depth, vs a team with a lot of individual firepower.
As with any Canadian team at this Championship, game roles meted out can be considered somewhat arbitrary, with the coaches in the unenviable position of determining who’s playing in a given situation in any given game – over a very short time frame – and often with very little fore-knowledge of the individual player’s current league play.
So that being said, individual stats for this tournament may reflect more on opportunity than they normally do. At the same time, it’s interesting to note how things shook out at the end of the day.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look at how Team Canada individual players stats finished up, including a few details on the Top 5 – who come to Team Canada from an interesting mix of backgrounds.
Canada’s Top 5 Snipers
At the top of the scoring, with 10 points, Jordan Kyrou – relatively unknown to most in Western Canada – a Toronto native, who played minor midget with the Mississauga Senator before joining the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. Kyrou is 2016 second round pick, #35 overall, of the St. Blues. He is currently 19G-39A-58 pts in 30 games with the Sting.
In second place with nine points, Sam Steel, an Edmonton native who played in the Sherwood Park minor hockey program before joining the Regina Pats as a 16 year old, scoring 17G-35A-54 pts as a rookie. Steel was drafted #30 overall in the 2016 draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
In third spot, with eight points, Cale Makar, a defenseman, who is late 1998 birthday from Calgary, picked #4 overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017 draft. Makar came out of the Crowchild MHA and Calgary Flames Midget AAA programs and chose to play with the Brooks Bandits in the AJHL and develop in the NCAA, where he plays with UMass (Amherst).
Drake Batherson, another player relatively unknown in the West, led Team Canada scoring with seven goals in seven games, sniping on an incredible 36.84% of shots on goal. Batherson was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, of Canadian father Norm Batherson, a Nova Scotian who played a year in OHL and a year in WHL, and three years at Acadia before suiting up for four years in the AHL and then a few years in Europe. Batherson did not play major junior until last year, after two years of Junior A with the Valley Wildcats in the Annapolis Valley. He was drafted last spring by the Ottawa Senators, in the fourth round, #121 overall.
Brett Howden, a Calgary born 1998 now playing for the WHL Moose Jaw Warriors, was picked 27th overall by the Tampa Bay Lighting in the 2016 draft. Howden played for the Eastman Selects in the Manitoba Midget AAA league before joining the Warriors for the 2014-2015 season, putting up 22G-24A-58 points in his rookie year. This year Howden is 13G-18A-31 pos in 20 games with the Warriors. He scored 3G-4A for Canada in seven games.
In nets, of course, Canada was led by Carter Hart, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, currently playing for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Hart was selected 48th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the leading goalie in the WHL this season, with a 1.32 GAA and a .961 save percentage.
Colton Point, a native of North Bay, Ontario put up a perfect 1.000 GGA average in the tournament this year, shutting out the Slovaks 6-0 in his lone appearance. Point is in his second year at Colgate University, where he’s posting a 1.79 GAA and .942 in 17 games. Point played one year of Junior A with the Carleton Place Canadians before joining Colgate. Point was drafted #128 overall by the Dallas Stars in 2016.