Important Weekend Ahead For Capitals’ Prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio

The first two days of Canada’s National Junior team selection camp are already in the books, with just two more days remaining for players to make an impression. This includes Capitals’ prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio, who are currently on the outside looking in.

Selection camp invitees aren’t given much time to make their case. They’ll play back-to-back games against university players on Saturday and Sunday, with Canada’s 25-player roster set to be unveiled on Monday.

It appears that 10 players have already been designated as early “locks” to make the team and will sit out Saturday’s game. They include Mason McTavish, Ridley Greig, Justin Sourdif, Jake Neighbours, Cole Perfetti, Shane Wright, Maveik Bourque, Dylan Guenther, Kaiden Guhle and Owen Power.

That leaves 25 players competing for the 15 remaining spots on the roster. Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio are two of the 25 players that will need to play well in this weekend’s games in order to make the team.

This is Lapierre’s second attempt at making the National Junior team. He was cut from the squad just 12 months ago, but feels he’s in a better place, mentally, for this year’s camp.

“I arrived in a good state of mind, Lapierre told Ledroit. “This is another good opportunity for me to show what I can do. I wasn’t very satisfied with my camp last year. I arrive with the knife between my teeth this year. I certainly learned from my mistakes last year. I’m just going to try to play stress-free, in my element. If I do that, it will be fine. I’m very excited to be here. I will do everything to help the team win.”

By his own admission, Lapierre says he was stressed during his first attempt to make the team last December.

“Last year, I knew there were very big names here. I was obsessed with the idea of not making a mistake instead of simply adjusting to the pace of the game. It’s really up to me to implement my own pace by playing with speed as I did in the NHL. That’s really where I have to focus. I feel very good. I come here with an open mind. I’m ready to play all the roles.”

Lapierre has had some of his best moments playing center. However, he says he is ready to play anywhere in order to make the team.

“I am very comfortable on the wing. I played there a little in Washington. I played on the wing most of the last season in Chicoutimi. I am currently at the center in Bathurst. I mainly played center in Washington, but really, I’m comfortable in all positions. No matter what role I am going to be given, I will do it with pride. My only goal is to bring back a gold medal to Canada. Whether at center, the wing, in an offensive or defensive role, I will be extremely happy to wear the Canadian jersey. In the coming days, it will be up to me to prove that I deserve it.”

Defenseman Vincent Iorio will also need to have a good weekend to make this year’s team. This is his first selection camp.

“I’m very excited,” Iorio said of the invitation. “Obviously it’s going to be a challenge but the end goal for [teammate] Ridly (Grieg) and I is to make the team and help the team out as much as we can. We’re really looking forward to it and working hard to be a part of that team.”

Iorio has one advantage over other defensemen in the camp. Jack Thompson, a right-shot Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, will not attend Canada’s selection camp due to COVID protocols and has been ruled out for the World Junior team. That leaves just one right-shot candidate, Iorio, on the blueline.

“It’s a little bit of a fantasy,” Iorio said. “You watch the world juniors growing up as a kid and it’s putting on the Maple Leaf sweater you get as a kid. To be able to be part of a camp like this … I’m at a loss for words.”

Once the roster is finalized on Monday, the team will head to Banff before facing Switzerland in a pre-tournament game Dec. 19. Canada will also play exhibition games Dec. 20 against Sweden and Dec. 22 against Russia before the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship gets underway on Dec. 26.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Important Weekend Ahead For Capitals’ Prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio

  1. Anonymous says:

    Surprised Lapierre is not a “lock” for this team.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

Leave a Reply