Welcome to The TSN Hockey Bobcast - where TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie addresses your questions on hockey...and just about anything else.

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Here are a couple of topics from this week's edition that stood out.


Team Building For The World Juniors

Bob McKenzie: "Let’s start with what could have been - envision Team Canada at the World Junior Championship and Connor McDavid skates out as the No. 1 centre flanked by Lawson Crouse of the Arizona Coyotes on the left side and Toronto Maple Leaf Mitch Marner on the right side. 

And then Dylan Strome as the second line centre with Anthony Beauvillier on the left side and Travis Konecny of the Philadelphia Flyers on the right side. 

Well, it's a nice dream, but the Edmonton Oilers aren't releasing Connor McDavid to play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship (even though he's still eligible), and I think it's safe to say the Toronto Maple Leafs aren't releasing Mitch Marner and the Philadelphia Flyers aren't releasing Travis Konecny either. It's a wait and see situation on Crouse and Beauvillier as well, along with defenceman Jakob Chychrun - those are the only three legitimate hopes that Team Canada could get. 

But this is really a year where other countries are affected almost as much as Team Canada. And that's unusual - Canada is usually the one that really got dinged badly by having a lot of its players playing in the NHL. But this year, look at some of these players who other countries won't be able to get. Team USA - Auston Matthews from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames, Zach Werenski from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Noah Hanifin from the Carolina Hurricanes. Those four guys would make a huge difference on Team USA and they're not expected to be there either. What a difference Patrik Laine would make for Team Finland if he were in the Finns' lineup. They haven't asked the Edmonton Oilers for Jesse Puljujarvi, but even if they do, the answer is going to be no."



The (Early) Calder Trophy Race

Bob McKenzie: "I wouldn't say that there's been no love for Zach Werenski. But at 6-2 and 218 pounds, he's an elite-level skater with five goals and 15 points in 18 games played, 48 shots on goal, 22-plus minutes played in 11 of those 18 games, points in eight of his last 12 games, I wouldn't say he's got no notice or no love. 

But the problem you run into is that Patrik Laine's got 12 goals in 22 games. He's on pace for 45 goals and goals really attract a lot of attention - especially in the rookie race. If Laine scores 45 goals this season, I'd feel relatively safe in saying he's going to win Rookie of the Year.

But I'll tell you what - if I was voting today, I'd have to think long and hard about Werenski as the leading rookie. Laine's played 22 games and he's got hat tricks in two of those games and he got two goals in another one. That's eight goals in three games and it would mean he scored four goals in the other 18 games. I don't think he can be penalized for getting hat tricks, but in terms of scoring consistently in games, the Winnipeg Jets have been an inconsistent team because they're so young. They have such great young talent, including Laine, but they're an inconsistent team and Laine's production has been inconsistent even though the overall numbers are absolutely incredible.

Still, like I said, if he gets 45 goals this season, it's going to be tough for anybody to think that he's not the rookie of the year. And yet, I can sit here and make a case for Mitch Marner as well. The problem he's going to run into in this Rookie of the Year voting is that with Auston Matthews and William Nylander in Toronto, the Maple Leaf rookie vote could get split among those three guys."



Bob's not a 'tough guy,' but don't crash in on his set or he'll give you an earful...

Best to listen in on this one.