Three Habs Make Team Canada
As if the World Junior Hockey Championship wasn't exciting enough, Montreal Canadiens fans have three extra reasons to cheer their hearts out this holiday season as all the Habs prospects invited to Team Canada's camp have made the team.
Nathan Beaulieu earned his way onto the squad with his dynamic offense and great PP work. He'll likely be playing on Canada's top powerplay unit with Brandon Gormley. Beaulieu has thrived for the Saint John Sea Dogs this year without being insulated by Simon Despres like recent years. As their #1 defenseman he leads their defense in goals (tied for 8), assists (18), is second in +/- (+20), and adds a physical dimension at 6'3" with 57 PIM over 30 games. In spite of being drafted just this summer, Beaulieu's late birthday makes this his only shot at the World Junior tournament.
Brendan Gallagher's gritty play and willingness to go to the net saw him make the team before the other two Habs prospects. Gallagher is having a fantastic season for the Vancouver Giants, 8th overall in WHL scoring, having played 4 games fewer than anyone ahead of him aside from Swiss passing sensation Sven Bartschi. Gallagher has recorded 24 goals and 22 assists in just 28 games this season, along with a +12 rating and 39 PIM. Gallagher's 10 powerplay goals will also likely earn him some powerplay time for Team Canada.
Lastly Michael Bournival, after being the last cut from the team in 2010, will make the team as a likely 4th line center. While this role may not do justice to Bournival's talent, he has the grit and awareness to play that role with aplomb while adding offensive depth that some of the other bottom 6 guys for Canada don't have. Bournival is actually one of the most dynamic scorers in the QMJHL this season, but his overall numbers have been hampered by missing half the year with a shoulder injury. 15 goals and 9 assists in just 16 games make him the Shawinigan Cataractes' top player, and conversely with the other two Habs representatives, Bournival is very disciplined with just 4 PIM. Bournival will also be counted on to win draws as he's a strong faceoff man (58% in the Q this year).
That's not all for the Habs prospects in the World Juniors either. Jarred Tinordi is considered a strong possibility to make Team USA for the tournament, and Daniel Pribyl also has a significant chance to make the team for the Czech Republic.
For information on all the goings on for the World Juniors, be sure to follow Puck Worlds at SB Nation, run by our own Bruce Peter. Bruce goes into depth on the rosters for the other countries as well.