The IIHF World Junior Championship (held in Montreal and Toronto this year) is always an extremely fun tournament to watch with U20 players from all around the world battling it out for gold and glory. Before that happens, though, players have to battle it out for spots on their respective countries' rosters and that all starts with the annual National Junior Evaluation Camp.
Every summer right before training camps start up, USA Hockey holds their Junior Evaluation Camp where teams from the USA, Canada, Finland, and Sweden evaluate their WJC hopefuls in practices and exhibition games. This year the Predators will have four prospects taking part in the evaluation camp including 2016 1st round pick Dante Fabbro and 2016 2nd round pick Samuel Girard for Team Canada and 2015 3rd round pick Thomas Novak (Blue Team) and 2016 3rd round pick Rem Pitlick (White Team) for Team USA.
All Team Canada games will be available for live stream via TSN. FastHockey.com is also an option for subscribers but there is a $26 dollar fee for a monthly pass.
|Sunday, July 31||
USA White vs. Sweden
USA Blue vs. Finland
|Monday, August 1||
USA Blue vs. Sweden
USA White vs. Finland
|Wednesday, August 3||
Canada vs. Finland
USA vs. Sweden
|Friday, August 5||
Sweden vs. Canada
Finland vs. USA
|Saturday, August 6||
Sweden vs. Finland
USA vs. Canada
There is a fairly good possibility of seeing two Predators prospects suite up for Team Canada in the 2016 World Junior Championships in Fabbro and Girard. They will be facing some decent competition with the likes of Thomas Chabot, Jake Bean, Jakub Chychrun, and Jeremy Roy.
I'd be surprised if Fabbro didn't make the team and also keep in mind Girard beat out 5 of the 14 defensemen vying for a spot on Team Canada for QMJHL defenseman of the year. With Fabbro being a steady and reliable two-way defenseman and Girard being a fast-skating offensive dynamo we could see a potential reunion of the two as linemates come December and January.
Skating on the first line for USA Team Blue on Sunday alongside Jeremy Bracco and Jordan Greenway, Novak got off to a nice start to the evaluation camp with 2 goals and an assist against a sloppy Finland team. Novak's assist was a thing of beauty with him corralling a bouncing puck and swiftly sending it through a Finnish defender onto Tage Thompson's stick for the deflection. Later, Novak circled around the top of the right circle and fired a snipe of a wrister bar-down for his second goal of the game. As an older and more experience player, Novak is in a pretty good position to gain a roster spot for team USA; especially if he continues his fantastic showing.
Pitlick also got off to a solid start with an assist for USA Team White and created a good amount of offense with 4 shots. He is probably not very high on the list of candidates for making Team USA but the fact he can play both center and wing could make him a great option for a 13th forward.
Jake Baskin wrote a great article on all Team USA players attending the National Junior Evaluation Camp.
I wrote almost 11,000 words on USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp and every player who will be there. https://t.co/NVbdQq0ALA— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 28, 2016
Tweets from yesterday's action:
USA White lines vs. Sweden:— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
Pitlick gets a chance but it's stopped by Felix Sandström.— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
Pitlick has impressed me a lot so far.— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
Pitlick with a slap shot looking for a rebound, but Sandström swallows it.— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
Pitlick to Fischer, no dice.— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
USA Blue lines vs. Finland:— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
Tkachuk is injured.
To clarify: Thompson from Novak, Bracco from Tufte.— Jake Baskin (@baskincase) July 31, 2016
Tommy Novak goes to the right post with his stick down and buries the rebound of a Kunin blast. USA Blue leads Finland 4-1.— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) July 31, 2016
Novak carves around the top of the left circle and scores with a rocket wrister high stick side. 5-1 lead for USA Blue late 2nd.— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) July 31, 2016
USA Blue defeats Finland 8-1 at the NJEC. Summer blowouts . Expecting a much much better Finland squad next time out.— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) July 31, 2016