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.


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.