Washington Capitals 2019 first-round pick Connor McMichael officially realized a dream on Saturday. After Halifax’s Benoit-Olivier Groulx was released, McMichael officially made Team Canada’s 2020 World Junior Championship roster.
The nod comes after McMichael had a spectacular opening to the season. The center scored three hat tricks and tallied 59 points in his first 27 games (2.19 ppg). McMichael has led the OHL in scoring for large swaths of time and still sits second despite participating in Team Canada’s WJC selection camp and playing six fewer games than first place Arthur Kaliyev, who plays on the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“Every Boxing Day, you tune in with your family and watch Team Canada go to work, so it’s a dream come true,” McMichael said to DurhamRegion.com’s Brian McNair. “I don’t really care where I play, it’s just a dream even making the world junior team, so I’m excited.”
McMichael is one of two Capitals players to play in the World Junior Championship this season. Martin Hugo Has, another Capitals draft pick (2019 fifth-round), is on the Czech Republic team and could end up captaining it. Capitals third-round draft pick, Aliaksei Protas, is playing for Belarus in the second division tournament.
Dale Hunter, Canada’s WJC coach and McMichael’s coach with the London Knights, has placed his star player on the left-wing on the fourth line along with Akil Thomas and Raphael Lavoie.
Now down to the final 23-man roster, the Team 🇨🇦 lines at practice are:
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 21, 2019
According to Sportsnet, Canda’s roster features 18 NHL draft selections (10 first-round picks) and five players eligible to the 2020 NHL Draft. Forward Alexis Lafreniere, who is projected to be the top overall pick in next year’s draft, highlights the group. The 18-year-old French Canadian has 70 points in the first 32 games of the QMJHL season.
Canada played its final pre-tournament game Monday against Finland and won 4-2, riding two goals from Nolan Foote. They open pool play on December 26 against the United States.
— London Knights (@GoLondonKnights) December 22, 2019
Congratulations, Connor! Make us proud.
Headline photo: @Capitals
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