World Juniors won't include Percy, Anderson

DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:09 AM ET

TORONTO - Hmmm, did Hockey Canada forget to scout the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors?

Two notable names were left off the 41-man roster for the Canadian junior team selection camp that was announced Monday and both play for the Majors — defenceman Stuart Percy and goaltender J.P. Anderson.

Naturally, there will always be debate among junior hockey fans about who deserves to be included in the annual winter ritual but the omission of Percy and Anderson is a little puzzling.

Percy, a signed first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been a bit nicked up this season but he’s been steady at both ends of the ice. He’s averaging nearly a point per game and leads the Majors at plus-11, well off the plus-50 he posted last year but a more-than-respectable number nonetheless.

So Percy is out and Saginaw Spirit defenceman Jamie Oleksiak is in? If it was up to me, I’d take Percy’s combo of skills over Oleksiak’s bulk at an event like the world juniors.

Anderson hasn’t been as consistent as you’d expect of a 19-year-old who’s signed an NHL contract with San Jose to be — his goals-against is a tad high at 3.13 — but he probably deserved a shot at making the Canadian team.

Instead, Scott Wedgewood of the Plymouth Whalers got the nod ahead of Anderson. He will battle for the second spot — as a veteran of last year’s Canadian team, Niagara IceDogs goalie Mark Visentin is a lock this time around — with Tyler Bunz of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Louis Domingue of the Quebec Remparts.

Malcolm Subban of the Belleville Bulls, who leads the OHL with a 1.89 GAA and .938 save percentage, was also ignored. Don’t expect that to happen again next year. Subban is one of the early candidates to play for Canada in 2013.

A pair of Oshawa Generals are among the 21 forwards heading to camp. But Boone Jenner and Christian Thomas will need to perform at a higher level in Calgary than they have been in Oshawa if they want to make the final cut. Thomas, particularly, has been wildly inconsistent — great one night, invisible the next — and that doesn’t bode well for his chances.

The IceDogs will be well represented in Calgary. The Hamilton brothers, Freddie and Dougie, plus Ryan Strome and Visentin, got invitations to camp and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see at least three of them stick.

And good to see Barrie Colts rising superstar Tanner Pearson get a shot at playing in the world juniors. He’s been one of the feel-good stories of the year and, as the OHL’s leading scorer, deserved a chance.

COLTS ADD HORSEPOWER

It wasn’t a move that would cause a domino effect around the league, but the Barrie Colts decision to trade for overage winger Daniel Erlich was pretty astute.

The Colts acquired Erlich from the Guelph Storm for a trio of draft picks Thursday, adding another offensive weapon to a well-stocked arsenal that includes league scoring leader Tanner Pearson, OA forward Colin Behenna and Winnipeg Jets first-round pick Mark Scheifele.

Erlich, who started the season playing pro in Austria before asking for his release, wasn’t going to play for the rebuilding Storm. Guelph GM Mike Kelly has settled on his three OAs and didn’t want to upset team chemistry by adding Erlich, who clearly could have helped a young group of forwards.

Erlich’s critics will tell you that he plays on the perimeter too much — listed at a generous 5-foot-6, he’s probably the smallest player in the league — but he’s got speed to burn and should give the Colts another threat in the offensive zone. He’s got a pair of goals and four points in his first two games with the Colts so he looks like a good fit.

If Zach Hall (one point in the last nine games) finds his scoring groove again and a resurgent Ivan Telegin (11 points in a seven-game scoring streak) stays hot, the Colts could be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

And, honestly, who’da thunk that when the season started?

The only fly in the ointment is that the Colts will have to somehow shed one of their four overagers — Behenna’s not going anywhere so Norm Ezekial or Victor Terreri will be moved or waived — before the January trade deadline.

MAJOR MALFUNCTION

Don’t look now but the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors are sliding.

The Majors got off to a quick start this season — 7-0 out of the chute — but have fallen on hard times lately. They’ve lost three straight, including a 3-2 decision to the Guelph Storm on home ice Sunday, while going 2-6-1-1 over their past 10 games.

All of a sudden, a playoff spot isn’t looking like a sure thing. The Majors are seventh in the tight Eastern Conference and hold a three-point edge on ninth-place Sudbury but the Wolves have played four fewer games.

“These are lost points that may really come back to hurt us in the long run,” Majors coach/GM James Boyd said after the loss to Guelph. “We are close but not getting two points from weekend games with the standings so tight is not good.”

Their last three losses all came in winnable games, which is probably what has Boyd concerned.

First they fell to Brampton, the top team in the Central Division but not what you’d call a powerhouse, then they gave up three third-period goals to lose to the 7-15-2-2 Kingston Frontenacs. The Storm, possibly the youngest team in the league, was playing for the third time in two and a half days.

If there’s any good news, and I use that term loosely, it’s that goalie J.P. Anderson wasn’t invited to the Canadian junior camp. With rookie Spencer Martin away with Team Ontario at the world under-17s in late December, from a purely selfish perspective the Majors could ill afford to lose Anderson at the same time.


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