An interesting question this week, on the heels of Canada's fifth straight gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Does playing for Canada in the WJHC ensure an NHL career?
Hi Scott. My brother and I were having a discussion as the Canadian Jrs won gold (again). His position was basically that once someone is selected to the Canadian Junior team, that pretty much guarantees an NHL career, barring injury. I disagreed, although I believe the tourny will definitely affect the values of the player's stock. So we were wondering if you could tell us how many players have played on Canada's World Jr team that have seen limited or no NHL success?
Great question, Ryan.
I figured the best way to go about this is to break down the players into categories and it should be evident how successful the NHL careers have been for Canada's World Juniors (from 1990 though 2004).
Don't get too caught up where each players has been categorized -- this was done in short order -- but it should give at least a general idea of the breakdown.
As you can see, it's no sure thing that a player for Canada's National Junior Team is going to stick in the NHL. 110 of 266 (41.3%) are either marginal NHLers or never made it.
NHL Superstars (9)
Eric Lindros, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton, Roberto Luongo, Vincent Lecavalier, Dany Heatley, Sidney Crosby.
NHL Stars (18)
Paul Kariya, Ryan Smyth, Wade Redden, Ed Jovanovski, Daniel Briere, Alex Tanguay, Simon Gagne, Brian Campbell, Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards, Jason Spezza, Jay Bouwmeester, Rick Nash, Derek Roy, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards.
Good NHL Players (Top Six Forwards, Top Four Defencemen) (41)
Patrice Brisebois, Felix Potvin, Manny Legace, Mike Rathje, Jason Smith, Adrian Aucoin, Manny Fernandez, Jason Allison, Anson Carter, Jeff Friesen, Bryan McCabe, Brendan Witt, Eric Daze, Jeff O'Neill, Darcy Tucker, Jose Theodore, Daymond Langkow, Chris Phillips, Martin Biron, Cory Sarich, Eric Brewer, Mike Van Ryn, J.P. Dumont, Brad Stuart, Robyn Regehr, Michael Ryder, Mike Ribeiro, Barret Jackman, Mike Cammalleri, Brad Boyes, Barret Jackman, Jarret Stoll, Dan Hamhuis, Stephen Weiss, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Brent Burns, Braydon Coburn, Brent Seabrook, Patrice Bergeron, Corey Perry.
Solid NHLers (88)
Stephane Fiset, Trevor Kidd, Stu Barnes, Wes Walz, Kevin Haller, Mike Ricci, Kris Draper, Mike Sillinger, Greg Johnson, Pat Falloon, Scott Thornton, Jason Marshall, Karl Dykhuis, Martin Lapointe, Brad May, Patrick Poulin, Brad Bombardir, Turner Stevenson, Tyler Wright, Jassen Cullimore, Richard Matvichuk, Jeff Shantz, Alexandre Daigle, Nathan Lafayette, Chris Gratton, Rob Niedermayer, Dean McAmmond, Jamie Storr, Todd Harvey, Michael Peca, Dan Cloutier, Jamie Rivers, Denis Pederson, Shean Donovan, Marc Denis, Alyn McCauley, Denis Gauthier, Brad Larsen, Curtis Brown, Rhett Warrener, Brad Isbister, Boyd Devereaux, Peter Schaefer, Trevor Letowski, Mathieu Garon, Matt Cooke, Brett McLean, Matt Bradley, Brian Willsie, Jason Ward, Steve Begin, Manny Malhotra, Kyle Calder, Adam Mair, Blair Betts, Jason Chimera, Andrew Ference, Bryan Allen, Mark Bell, Alexander Auld, Raffi Torres, Steve Ott, Nick Schultz, Pascal Leclaire, Chuck Kobasew, Brian Sutherby, Scottie Upshall, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jay McClement, Ian White, Brooks Laich, Kyle Wellwood, Joffrey Lupul, Matt Stajan, Gregory Campbell, Jordin Tootoo, Steve Eminger, Boyd Gordon, Daniel Paille, Josh Harding, Josh Gorges, Maxime Talbot, Nigel Dawes, Andrew Ladd, Colin Fraser, Clark MacArthur, Cam Barker.
Marginal NHLers (34)
Mike Craig, Kent Manderville, Steven Rice, Scott Pellerin, Adrien Plavsic, David Harlock, Jason Dawe, Joel Bouchard, Aaron Gavey, Marty Murray, Drew Bannister, Nolan Baumgartner, Hnat Domenichelli, Mike Watt, Jamie Wright, Richard Jackman, Jason Doig, Trent Whitfield, Shane Willis, Brad Ference, Rico Fata, Jamie Lundmark, Matt Pettinger, Steve McCarthy, Mathieu Biron, Mike Zigomanis, Garth Murray, Nathan Paetsch, Jeff Woywitka, Brendan Bell, Derek Meech, Kevin Klein, Anthony Stewart, Jeff Tambellini.
Didn't Quite Get There or Not There Yet (76)
Dave Chyzowski, Mike Needham, Dwayne Norris, Dan Ratushny, Jason Herter, Stewart Malgunas, Pierre Sevigny, Chris Snell, John Slaney, Dale Craigwell, Mike Fountain, Kimbi Daniels, Steve Junker, Jeff Nelson, Ryan Hughes, Andy Schneider, Chad Penney, David St. Pierre, Philippe DeRouville, Martin Gendron, Ralph Intranuovo, Jeff Bes, Brent Tully, Darcy Werenka, Yanick Dube, Rick Girard, Nick Stajduhar, Curtis Bowen, Jason Botterill, Brandon Convery, Chris Armstrong, Larry Courville, Lee Sorochan, Chad Allan, Christian Dube, Jason Podollan, Rob Gordon, Jason Holland, Craig Mills, Cameron Mann, Hugh Hamilton, Jesse Wallin, Jeff Ware, Dwayne Hay, Josh Holden, Daniel Tkaczuk, Daniel Corso, Sean Blanchard, Zenith Komarniski, Brian Finley, Harold Druken, Tyler Bouck, Brad Leeb, Kent McDonnell, Maxime Ouellet, Brandon Reid, Chris Nielsen, Eric Chouinard, Kyle Rossiter, Joe Rullier, Matt Kinch, Derek MacKenzie, Mark Popovic, Jason Jaspers, Dave Morrisset, Jay Harrison, Olivier Michaud, Jared Aulin, David LeNeveu, Alexandre Rouleau, Tim Brent, Jeremy Colliton, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Stephen Dixon, Shawn Belle, Rejean Beauchemin, Danny Syvret.
Scott Cullen can be reached at email@example.com