Photo: Team Canada
Connor McMichael, the Washington Capitals first round draft pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft (#25 overall) spent the past week playing for Team Canada in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held in Plymouth, Michigan. The week-long camp included 11 international competitions between Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. The tournament wrapped-up Saturday evening with Team USA beating Team Canada 5-3.
Connor McMichael was added to Team Canada’s World Junior summer development camp on July 8th, just a week after wrapping up his first development camp with the Capitals. (A summary of McMichaels development camp scrimmage recap is here.)
Make that 1️⃣4️⃣ #OHL talents headed to Calgary for #WorldJuniors 🇨🇦 Camp.@GoLondonKnights forward and @Capitals 1st Round #NHLDraft pick @con91mcmichael has been added to @HockeyCanada NJT Summer Development Camp roster.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) July 9, 2019
Dale Hunter, former Washington Capitals star and McMichael’s current head coach at the London Knights is also coaching Team Canada’s junior team this year. Dale’s brother, Mark, also a coach with the London Knights, is the Manager of Team Canada’s Junior program. This should bode well for McMichael making the final roster for the World Juniors tournament in December.
However, an early lineup projection by TSN’s Craig Button does not include McMichael on the roster.
Olivier Rodrigue is pegged as the starting goaltender. pic.twitter.com/3J4A1Ac1lO
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 3, 2019
McMichael wrapped the series with two goals on eight shots in just two games played. His two goals was tied for ninth best of the tournament, even though he only played in two games.
McMichael was most prevalent on the power play. His first goal of the tournament came on a power play wrister from the middle-slot in the first game against Finland. His second tally of the tourney also came on the power play, this time cleaning up loose change on the doorstep late in game two against Sweden. McMichael showed excellent sense for the puck when down low, and demonstrated excellent positioning when playing in front of the netminder.
McMichael was a scratch in the tuneup game against Team USA and in the final game of the tournament, also against Team USA. The scratches had little to do with his level of play, and more to do with the number of players Dale and Mark Hunter wanted to get a good look at. Team Canada had 23 forwards participate in this week’s camp.
Game 1 – Team Finland vs. Team Canada
Team Finland jumped all over Team Canada in the Showcase opener, beating the Canadians 8-3. As for McMichael, he would center Team Canada’s second line. He fired five shots, recorded a power play goal and was a -1 on the day.
McMichael was asked about the Team Canada tournament opener following the game. He placed some of the team’s lackluster performance on the fact that this was Team Canada’s first real game action for the week.
Game 2 – Team Canada vs. Team Sweden
Team Canada responded in Game 2, beating Team Sweden 5-2. Former Capital and Team Canada Head Coach Dale Hunter dropped Connor McMichael from 2C to 4C for Game 2. For the game, McMichael was relatively quiet until the waiting moments of the final frame, when het potted his second power play goal, this time from the doorstep. For the game, McMichael had the power play goal on three shots and was an even +/-.
Game 3 – Team USA vs. Team Canada
McMichael was a scratch in the final game of the tournament.
The U.S. National Junior Team will compete in the 2020 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020, in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic. A decision on the final roster will not be made until just prior to the start of the tournament.
For McMichael, it will be a few weeks of rest before he reports to the Capitals rookie development camp and showcase in Nashville, Tennessee on September 5th. He is also expected to report to Capitals training camp on September 13. Following Capitals training camp, McMichael will return to London to begin preparing for the Knights 2019-2020 season.
By Jon Sorensen