With the World Juniors beginning in a couple of weeks, players from the different countries have started making their way to their respective country’s camps, vying for a chance at international glory. However, every year, there are names that aren’t at the camps that some fans feel deserve to be there. With that in mind, here are the five players in the OHL most worthy of an invite, that didn’t get one. Keep in mind, They could be included on this list for a variety of reasons (thus why I made the list absentees, not snubs).
Canada – London Knights
Probably the truest “snub” on the list, Pu has been nothing short of exceptional in London this season. Being asked to step in for scorers like Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matt Tkachuk, he has responded with 42 points in 24 games, good for 6th in the OHL. Pu already has big game experience from last season, helping the London Knights to a Memorial Cup, and has NHL pedigree after being selected in the 3rd round of last season’s NHL draft. Unfortunately, he likely lost to the numbers game, with Canada having many similar players already in camp.
Russia – Sudbury Wolves
This one is a little confusing. Last season was not the best for Sokolov, as he watched his draft stock plummet during an uneven season on a weak Sudbury team, but still managed to put up 30 goals. That was last season, this is now. Sokolov has been on a goal scoring tear this season, with 19 goals in only 25 games. He even managed to get into a game for the Canada-Russia Super Series, where he scored in his only game. Sokolov also played for the Russians in the Under-18’s, where he scored 5 points in as many games. Given his production this year, and the hype he had before last season started, one would think he was deserving of a shot at cracking the Russian roster.
USA – London Knights
Jones isn’t here because he was snubbed, but because he is injured. During a game against Barrie, Jones was hit in the arm with a slap shot and hasn’t played since. His injury is a big loss for both player and country, as not only was Jones off to a blistering start, with 12 goals and 26 points in 15 games, but his game was perfectly suited to the smaller ice that the WJC games will be played on. The Americans have other big players, and plenty of scorers, but few who mixed the two quite like Jones did. Anytime a junior team loses a player who was an NHL 1st rounder, it hurts, but Jones’ loss stings just a little bit more.
USA – Flint Firebirds
Team USA has a pretty stacked forward corps, and also tends to fast track their selection process, so it isn’t a huge surprise that Moore didn’t receive the call. However Moore’s place on this list is more for the fact that the Americans might not actually know what they have in him. This season has been a coming out party for Moore, scoring 40 points in 29 games, putting him 8th in the OHL, after only notching 48 points last season. He also hasn’t played internationally since the 2014 Ivan Hlinka tournament, so they likely haven’t had many opportunities to see him play this season. Even if just to get a better look at him, it could have been worthwhile to invite Moore to camp.
Canada – Kitchener Rangers
Another question mark from the Canadian camp, Mascherin has been scoring at a torrid pace for a year and a half now. After scoring 81 points last season, and being drafted in the 2nd round of the last NHL draft, Mascherin has been surpassing that output this season, and could even flirt with 100 points. Like Pu, he likely lost out due to his size, and the fact that Canada has similar players, but very few players in Canada can match his production since the start of last season. The Canadian team is the hardest one to crack in all of junior hockey, but perhaps Mascherin could have scored himself a spot had he been given a chance.