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Three Avalanche prospects invited to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp

SB Nation logo SB Nation 10/29/2020 Tom Hunter
a person skiing on the snow: Alex Newhook as a part of Canada’s U18 team Alex Newhook as a part of Canada’s U18 team

A few years ago Colorado Avalanche fans got a look into the future as star prospects Cale Makar and Conor Timmins anchored Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship. This year there is a very strong chance that we could see three Avalanche prospects do the same, as Bowen Byram, Alex Newhook and Justin Barron have all been invited to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Selection Camp.

The invited players—five goaltenders, 15 defensemen and 26 forwards—will assemble in Red Deer, Alberta, on November 16th with the expectation that the final roster will be named by December 13th.

Of the three former first round picks, Byram is an absolute lock to be on the team. He will be a part of the leadership group of returning players and will likely see himself with a letter on his jersey when the tournament starts.

After being a late cut from last year’s team, Newhook is also a near certainty to make the team. After putting up 42 points in only 34 games as a freshman at Boston College last year, many believe that Newhook has overtaken Byram as Colorado’s top prospect. He is one of the best skaters outside of the NHL, and his ability to seamlessly transition to the wing will give him an advantage when it comes to making the team. There is a very good chance that Newhook joins 2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere as the left wingers in Canada’s top-6.

As for Barron, after fighting through a number of health issues, the 18-year-old finally worked his way back into the Halifax lineup this past weekend. With the QMJHL season the only hockey currently being played in North America, the players coming from that league might have an advantage going into camp. Barron is being worked back into the Mooseheads lineup slowly but should still have a leg up on the players from the NCAA, OHL and WHL who haven’t been on the ice since March. If he can get back to where he was before the blood clot issues derailed his draft season, Barron will have a very strong chance to make the team. Canada’s head coach André Tourigny will be very familiar with Barron as he played for the coach at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup—putting up a point per game in the tournament.

The familiarity with the coaching staff and the fact that he’s already playing this season should amplify Barron’s chance of making the team. After Jamie Drysdale, the right side of Canada’s blueline is completely unsettled. Barron will be competing with fellow 2020 first round pick Braden Schneider, as well as 2019 draft picks Kaedan Korczak and Jordan Spance, for a spot in the lineup.

At camp, Hockey Canada plans to build a “bubble” for the team in Red Deer to make the process as safe as possible for the players.

“As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, Hockey Canada has taken important steps to maintain the health and safety of our National Junior Team athletes and staff, as well as the community at large, during selection camp and throughout the World Juniors,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada.

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will take place in Edmonton, Alberta, and will run from Christmas day until January 5th.

Here is the complete list of invitees for the selection camp:

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