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WJC Preview: Team Canada

Connor McDavid (center) leads another loaded roster into the WJC for Canada. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The host Canadian team enters the IIHF under-20 World Championship -- referred to simply as the World Junior Championship or WJC by many -- as the favorites to win gold.

Michael Dal Colle, the No. 5 overall pick in 2014 (New York Islanders) was a surprise cut, and there are multiple forces at play in regard to that decision. It's a very strong forward group, as usual, with assignments by NHL teams that made decisions tougher. In addition, Lawson Crouse outplayed Dal Colle in under-20 games, and Canada has plenty of scoring options on this squad, so leaving Dal Colle off won't be a huge detriment.

Players are listed alphabetically by position and are presented along with the team that owns each player's rights, while draft prospects are denoted as such.


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Lawson Crouse, LW, 2015 eligible (Kingston, OHL)

I've seen a lot of Crouse in the past 12 months, and I think I'm between the two camps on him. There are some scouts who are simply in love with him and see a clear top-five pick next summer; others see just fine production and don't see a top-end prospect. I consider him a top-15 type of player. He's a very good skater for a large forward (6-foot-4, 212 pounds), with a great physical game, and is very advanced defensively for his age. He's not dynamic enough to be compared to a guy such as Dylan Strome, for example, but he's not Zack Kassian, either, and he's made this team on merit of his excellent performances in under-20 competition.