Summer camp opened Sunday for players hoping to crack the roster of Canada’s world junior hockey championship team, but gifted winger Jonathan Drouin was not on the ice.
Drouin, drafted third overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in June, was told not to skate at the camp due to a sore foot, although the injury is not considered serious. He had recently been hit in the foot by a puck, a team spokesman said.
Coach Brent Sutter has the group skating drills for two days at the Montreal Canadiens practice facility before heading to Lake Placid, N.Y. to play exhibition games Wednesday against Finland, Thursday against Sweden and Saturday against the United States.
It is a first step toward picking the team to represent Canada at the IIHF world under-20 championship Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden.
Drouin, of the Halifax Mooseheads, and three others who played January at the last world juniors in Ufa, Russia, were not scheduled to go to Lake Placid anyway, as coaches want to get a better look at the newcomers.
They included Drouin, his Mooseheads teammate Nathan MacKinnon, Edmonton Oil King Griffin Reinhart and Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors.
About 100 spectators turned out, mainly to see MacKinnon, the first overall draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche, and phenom Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters.
McDavid is attempting to become a rare 16-year-old to make the world junior team, joining stars like Sidney Crosby, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Jay Bouwmeester and Wayne Gretzky.
He was placed on a line with another “underage” player, 17-year-old Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, along with the Phoenix Coyotes’ first-round draft pick Max Domi of the London Knights.
Sam and Griffin Reinhart might be the first brothers on the Canadian team since Freddie and Dougie Hamilton in 2012. The only other brother combination was Randy and Mike Moller in 1982.
Felix Girard of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar took Drouin’s spot on the line with MacKinnon and big right winger Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers.
The players were split into two groups, each on the ice for an hour to skate drills as coaches begin to install their system of play.
Only the three goalies, Zachary Fucale of the Mooseheads, Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans and Jake Paterson of Saginaw Spirit took part in both sessions.
Editor’s Note: The original Canadian Press version of this online story gave incorrect information concerning the order of selection in the 2013 NHL entry draft for Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning. This online version has been corrected.