It’s the phone call that no junior player ever wants to receive. For Tyler Graovac, a Minnesota Wild prospect, he received that devastating call during his stay in Calgary to hear the bad news…..he has been cut from Team Canada’s World Junior Team.
Team Canada’s selection camp got under way on December 10 and after two exhibition games, one an inter-squad and the other against the University of Alberta, the first round of cuts fell on Thursday morning. Graovac was one of five players sent packing and one of the three forwards that were cut.
For Graovac, it’s not only disappointing to not make the club, but it spells the end of his chances to wear the Maple Leaf at the World Juniors. The seventh-round draft pick is a 93′ baby making him ineligible for next year’s tournament. It was all or nothing for the Brampton, Ontario native at this year’s camp and unfortunately for him it didn’t end with the news he was hoping for.
We recently examined Graovac’s chances of making Team Canada in a featured piece on the forward. At the end of the article it was noted the top six forward positions are guarantees with NHL caliber names like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Scheifle and Jonathan Huberdeau. Graovac’s back was against the wall from the outset and based on him being in the first round of cuts, he likely didn’t have his best camp as we stated he’d have to play his way on to the team.
Team Canada won’t be lacking any offensive weapons and Graovac’s numbers with his junior club in Ottawa prove that he needed the NHL lockout to end in order for him to have a chance. He’s more of a goal scorer with 18 goals in 23 games with the 67’s and with no room on the top two lines, he’d be hard pressed to make the squad as a third or fourth line checker.
The Wild still have one prospect in camp vying to make Team Canada, defenceman Matt Dumba.
There are currently 31 players still in camp with the roster being trimmed to it’s final 23 spots in the next few days.
The tournament begins on Boxing Day in Ufa, Russia.