First the good news, Caps draft pick Stefan Della Rovere earned an invite to Canada’s selection camp for the forthcoming IIHF U-20 World Junior Championship, which will be in late December-early January in Ottawa. Della Rovere, who has 16 goals and 27 points in 26 games for Barrie of the OHL, is one of 38 players vying for a spot on the roster.
The headliners in the camp are John Tavares, who could be the No. 1 pick in the 2009 darft, and Taylor Hall, who could be the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft. Amazingly, there are EIGHT guys in the NHL who could still play for Canada in this tournament.
Now for the bad news, Caps draft pick John Carlson was left off the United States team. The roster the Americans will go to Ottawa with was announced today, and Carlson, a first-round pick in June who is second among rookie defensemen in the OHL with 19 points in only 18 games, was not on it.
There has long been talk of the politics involved with how the USA roster is selected for this and other tournaments. It stems from the national team development program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Basically, a prevailing theory is if you didn’t spend some time in the program at Ann Arbor, then your chances of making this team are diminished.
It certainly looks like that is in play here. Yes, Jonathan Blum is on the team (but he was on it last year and leads all WHL defensemen in points, so it would look really bad if he wasn’t). But I doubt any NHL talent evaluators would put Blake Kessel or former Caps property Teddy Ruth ahead of Carlson — even though both are a year older. Ruth was part of the USNTDP program, and Kessel’s brother went there. Carlson probably deserved to be on the team, but the most deserving guys don’t always land on the U.S. team for the WJC. He will also have a chance to make the roster next season (if he’s not on the Caps roster at that point).