So as the summer selection camps heat up, the question is asked: For the upcoming World Juniors, whom do the Habs have as current hopefuls?
Let's be optimistic as we analyze our chances. We'll assume no discipline or off-ice issues, injuries or serious downturn in production and performance for any player, since it's a given these could derail their chances.
Canada – Fucale, Hudon? Zach Fucale is a shoo-in to make it, since there are only three goalies invited to the summer camp. There were three goalies on the roster in 2013, but only two in 2012. He is the earliest-drafted, highest-rated (Hockey's Future, Central Scouting) of the three. Big game experience, won the Memorial Cup. For Charles Hudon, he made it on the team last season but missed out due to injury. The management staff really liked his game and what he brought to the team, unless Brent Sutter wants a different team makeup, you would think he'd earn a roster spot again with another year of development under his belt.
USA – Vail, McCarron? Brady Vail might be in tough, he's not a big name or flashy, but might make it on the roster as a role player? He is more mature as a 19 year old player, that might play in his favour. Mike McCarron is also facing strong competition at forward, he's going to have to play his way on the roster in the first couple of months in London, but he brings an X-factor, the tremendous size he has, that coaches find hard to resist, even as an 18 year old.
Finland – Lehkonen? Artturi Lehknonen is guaranteed a spot, he was on Team Finland last season.
Sweden – Collberg, de la Rose? Same with Sebastian Collberg and Jacob de la Rose, they were both on Team Sweden at last year's Championship. With an additional season of development, they're guaranteed a spot.
Slovakia – Reway? Again, Martin Reway was on his WJC team last season as a 17 year old, he's guaranteed to be on it this year.
Czech – None
Russia – None
Switzerland – None (Sven Andrighetto was on this roster last season, but is now too old to participate.)
So we have five guaranteed prospects next Christmas at the WJC, a reasonable chance to have six, and if Brady Vail sneaks his way onto the USA roster we'd have seven.