Three returnees highlight Canada's WJHC selection roster Staff

11/28/2011 6:58:54 PM

There will be plenty of spots up for grabs on Canada's national junior team next month as Hockey Canada announced its selection camp roster on Monday for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Only three players from last year's silver medal-winning team - Jaden Schwartz, Quinton Howden and Mark Visentin - are on the list, as Erik Gudbranson, Brett Connolly, Ryan Johansen and Sean Couturier are committed to playing with their NHL teams.

Forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Devante Smith-Pelly, who have full-time spots in Edmonton and Anaheim, were also left off.

Other players who were at summer evaluation camp but are not on the selection camp roster include defencemen Martin Lefebvre, Matthew Petgrave, Duncan Siemens, Dillon Simpson and Stuart Percy along with forwards Patrick Holland, Greg McKegg, Lucas Lessio, Matt Puempel, Brett Ritchie and Michael Sgarbossa.

There will also be four undrafted players at next month's camp in Calgary. Defencemen Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67s, Everett blueliner Ryan Murray and Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels are eligible next June, while Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson will also get a chance to make the team.

"You look at this roster and there's a lot of depth," said Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson. "You talk to (head scout) Kevin Prendergast and he thinks we're as deep as we've ever been. We think it's going to be a very competitive camp here."

Players drafted by Canadian NHL teams include Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Brad Ross, Edmonton's Tyler Bunz, Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators, Michael Ferland and Max Reinhart of the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens prospects Nathan Beaulieu, Michael Bournival and Brendan Gallagher.

"Many of these players have already received the experience necessary to deal with high-paced international competition such as the World Juniors," said Prendergast. "The quality and skill of the 41 players invited to camp next week is a testament to the hard work, commitment and development of all those involved in the Canadian minor hockey and junior hockey systems."

The World Junior Hockey Championship begins on Boxing Day in Calgary and Edmonton.