Saturday, November 27, 2010


In 48 hours from now Louis Leblanc should have a big smile on his face. That's because for a second straight year Leblanc will be invited to the final camp for Canada's National Junior U-20 squad that will compete at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships taking place in Buffalo, NY.

RDS has reported that Leblanc, along with 5 other QMJHL players are expected to be invited to the final camp. The other 5 players include forwards Michael Bournival of Shawinigan and Sean Couturier of Drummondville, defensemen Brandon Gormley of Moncton and Simon Despres of Saint John, and goaltender Olivier Roy of Acadie-Bathurst. Here's a quick blurb on each player (position & age):

Louis Leblanc (C/W - 19):

He has been the player to watch this year in Montreal. To date Leblanc has registered 12 goals and 28 points in 20 games played. Much of the attention surrounding Leblanc relates to his status as the Montreal Canadiens' 1st round pick from the 2009 NHL entry draft. He played on the same line as Sean Couturier at both the Team Canada summer training camp in Newfoundland and while playing with Team QMJHL in the Subway Series against the Russians. Perhaps Team Canada has already decided both Leblanc and Couturier will be on the final roster? Leblanc is currently nursing a minor shoulder injury but is expected to be in top shape to play before the camp in mid-December. He is listed at 6'0", 178 lbs.

Michael Bournival (C - 18):

He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 3rd round of the 2010 entry draft however earlier this month his rights were dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defensemen Ryan O'Byrne. Bournival plays a feisty two-way game and skates well in his solidly build frame (6'0", 187 lbs). Bournival played for team QMJHL against the Russians earlier this month. He's wearing the "C" for his team these days and has posted 11 goals and 29 points in 22 games played this season.

Sean Couturier (C / W - 18):

He may be the most evaluated player at this year's World Junior Hockey Championships. Couturier, the QMJHL's scoring leader from last season, is expected to be the 1st overall pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft, so the scouts will be watching his every move. He was captain for Team QMJHL this year and performed very well against the Russians posting 2 points in 2 games played. He does everything well in all three zones. His skating and puck handling abilities are very smooth despite his large body (6'4", 191 lbs) Couturier has 15 goals and 39 points in 28 games played this year.

Simon Despres (D, 19):

Drafted by the Penguins 29th overall in 2009, Despres is a big time NHL prospect. This year at Pittsburgh's camp, Despres played so well that he almost stuck around for a full time NHL job. Since he was returned to the Sea Dogs Despres has earned his status as a star defenseman in the league while earning 5 goals and 18 points in 15 games played. He was unable to participate in the Subway Series after suffering an injury but will likely have that chance at the WJHC. Despres skates very well for a guy who is listed at 6'4" and 205 lbs.

Brandon Gormley (D, 18):

After "slipping" down the ranks in this year's NHL draft, Gormley has yet to disappoint the Pheonix Coyotes who drafted him 13th overall. A smooth skater, Gormely plays very consistent hockey at both ends of the ice and is a tremendous decision maker with the puck. To date he has 23 points in 20 games played. Listed at 6'2" and 190 lbs, Gormely is probably a lock to make Team Canada's final roster.

Olivier Roy (G, 19):

Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 5th round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Roy is playing his 4th season of Major Junior hockey. He has been on Team Canada's radar since the age of 16 and is the favorite to be the starting goaltender for the team. In 17 games played this season Roy has 9 wins and 8 losses while posting a 2.98 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. He also has 1 shutout this season. Roy is listed at 6'0", 180 lbs.

To read about the final list of camp invites, visit Hockey Canada's website this Monday afternoon at

2 Montreal Juniors on the outside looking in?

Unfortunately for 2 other Montreal Juniors players, goaltender Jean-Francois Berube and defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel, Monday will mark the day where their chances end to represent Canada at the World Junior tournament.

Jean-Francois Berube (G, 19):

He has been good for the Juniors but not great. Through 17 games played this season, his record of 13-3-1 looks great. But when you break it down and look further into the details, you notice that his numbers aren't as impressive as they could be, considering his situation. Berube's GAA is respectable at 2.60, however his save percentage of .897 is simply not something to brag about. Last season, playing for a much weaker Montreal team, Berube earned a 8.97 save percentage in 45 games played. If Berube wanted to lock a spot on the team he would have needed to have post a save percentage of at least .915 while between the pipes for the powerhouse Juniors.

Charles-Olivier Roussel (D, 19):

This season has not gone as planned for Roussel. After scoring 15 goals and 54 points in 64 games played last year with Shawinigan, Roussel has not been as fortunate while playing in Montreal this year. He still hasn't scored a goal and only has 7 assists in 17 games played. Speaking of 17 games played, missing games has been troublesome for Roussel this year. He has been both injured and suspended to miss a total of 9 games. For the sake of his career, Roussel needs to refocus his efforts on the opportunity he has in Montreal; winning a Presidents Cup and perhaps a chance to play in the Memorial Cup.

Photo Credit: Hockey Canada


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