WASHINGTON – Washington Capitals first-round draft pick Tom Wilson has been invited to Hockey Canada’s selection camp ahead of the 2013 World Junior Championships. The announcement was made Monday afternoon at Hockey Canada headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.
Wilson will be joined by 37 other prospects at the selection camp in Calgary from Dec.10 to 15. The final 23-man roster is expected to be announced the night of Dec. 13. The 2013 World Junior Championships take place from Dec.26 to Jan.5 in Ufa, Russia.
The WJC is widely considered the best annual tournament for young talent and the event could be even stronger this year given the NHL’s lockout.
With teenage prospects like 2011 first round picks Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele playing in the American Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League while the NHL lockout continues, all three should be available for the World Juniors. Other locked out NHL prospects fall under that same category.
The possibly deeper talent pool makes the task of making the final roster that much more of a challenge for Wilson.
The 6-foot-4 205-pound Wilson is viewed as one of junior hockey’s most physically gifted players and he could find a spot among Team Canada’s bottom six forwards.
Wilson, 18, represented Canada at last summer’s four-game Canada-Russia Hockey Challenge and was used primarily as a fourth line right winger. Wilson was held pointless in the four games and finished with six penalty minutes in an “energy line” role.
In 18 games this season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, Wilson has 5 goals, 21 points and 37 penalty minutes. He also represented the OHL in November in the annual Subway Super Series against top prospects from Russia.
Fellow Capitals first round pick Filip Forsberg is also expected to play in this year’s World Juniors. Forsberg won a gold medal at last year’s tournament with Sweden.
Current Capitals who have played in past World Junior Championships include Dmitry Orlov (Russia, 2010 and 2011) Marcus Johansson (Sweden, 2009 and 2010), John Carlson (USA, 2010), Karl Alzner (2007 and 2008), Nicklas Backstrom (2006 and 2007), Alex Ovechkin (2003, 2004 and 2005), Brooks Laich (Canada, 2003) and Roman Hamrlik (Czechoslovakia, 1991).