You never like to see a player get injured, especially just before one of the most important tournaments of the year for Canadian Hockey. However, with Ryan Murray‘s injury and surgery that will keep him out 6-8 months, the door opens up a little wider for Ottawa Senators 1st rounder and Ottawa 67’s co-captain Cody Ceci to not only make the team, but to be a major contributor when the tournament begins next month in Ufa, Russia.
Murray is one of 3 players from last season’s blue line that were eligible to return this season to attempt to improve on the Bronze medal that the Canadians brought home. With room for 7 defensemen, there will be quite a competition among blueliners, especially if the NHL isn’t back in action by the time the tournament rolls around. Locks for the team will be returnees Dougie Hamilton (Niagara Ice Dogs) and Scott Harrington (London Knights), who were two of Canada’s top defensemen last year.
The remaining 5 members of the group, judging by this summer’s Canada-Russia series, will be selected from the likes of Ryan Murphy (Kitchener Rangers), Matthew Dumba (Red Deer Rebels), Morgan Rielly (Moose Jaw Warriors), Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings), Xavier Ouellet (Blainville-Boisbrand Armada), Adam Pelech (Erie Otters) and Ceci.
If it was me doing the selecting, Team Canada’s blue line would consist of:
Hamiton – Harrington
Murphy – Dumba
Reilly – Ceci
It will be an interesting selection camp, as Pelech and Ouellet (and possibly a wild card or two invites) will be pushing for spots, and could easily knock one of the above mentioned players off the roster. I think my top 4 are pretty much locks, but the bottom 3 could be any combination.