The dream of playing for Canada this holiday season is over for nine more players, as the national men's junior team made its final cuts Wednesday morning in preparation for the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Seventeen-year-olds Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels and Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ryan Murphy were released, along with Everett Silvertips blueliner Ryan Murray.
Both Nugent-Hopkins and Murphy are projected Top 10 selections in next year's NHL draft, while Murray - a 16-year-old - is expected to go high in the 2012 draft.
"Definitely it doesn't feel good, but getting the opportunity as a 17-year-old was really good for me," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I really enjoyed the camp and I look forward to coming back next year.
"I don't think I'd do anything differently. If I looked back and thought I had changed things, I'd have regrets. I think I played overall pretty good."
"I don't think I played my best, which is tough to live with," said Pickard.
The moves leave Dave Cameron and his coaching staff with a 22-man roster, with 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goalies.
Up front, lone returning forward Brayden Schenn leads a baker's dozen that includes Carter Ashton, Casey Cizikas, Brett Connolly, Cody Eakin, Marcus Foligno, Curtis Hamilton, Quinton Howden, Ryan Johansen, Zack Kassian, Louis Leblanc, Jaden Schwartz and 18-year-old Sean Couturier.
Canada will play three exhibition games beginning Monday against Switzerland, with the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship beginning on Boxing Day in Buffalo.