Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke told Hockey Canada on Tuesday that if Morgan Rielly makes the national junior squad, he will stay with the team for the entire tournament regardless of what happens with the NHL labour situation.
Rielly, who is expected to compete for a top-pairing role on Canada's blue line, has been speculated as a possible mainstay on the Maple Leafs' roster this season. He was Toronto's first-round pick, fifth overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft.
There has been widespread uncertainty about what might happen to Team Canada if the NHL lockout ends and play resumes during the World Junior tournament. Several of Canada's best players such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele would be eligible to be recalled to the NHL at the same time as the event, which runs from Boxing Day through Jan. 5.
Hockey Canada planned for such a situation by inviting extra players to their evaluation camp in Calgary this week.