Blackhawks center Kirby Dach and goalie prospect Alexis Gravel were excluded from the Canadian national junior team’s preliminary roster for the 2020 World Junior Championship on Monday.
The 18-year-old Dach, selected third overall in this year’s NHL draft, is having a strong start to his rookie season with the Blackhawks. In 20 games, he has five goals and five assists.
Even though he wasn’t named to the camp roster, Hockey Canada could have Dach join the team if the Blackhawks decide to loan him out for the tournament. Chicago previously did that with defenseman Henri Jokiharju, who was not named to Finland’s initial camp roster but ended up helping Finland win gold at last year’s tournament.
The Blackhawks will have until the NHL’s annual holiday roster freeze to make a decision on whether to loan Dach to Canada for the tournament.
Gravel missed some time early this season after a shard of glass from his shattered terrarium pierced his foot 6 centimeters deep and nearly came out the other side. He only needed three stitches and returned in mid-October. He’s 6-10 with a .896 save percentage in 16 games this season.
Gravel struggled in the Canada-Russia Series, allowing four goals on 28 shots for Team QMJHL. Oddly enough, Nico Daws received the nod over Gravel. Daws, who plays for the Guelph Storm in the OHL, played for the Blackhawks at the NHL Prospect Tournament this summer in Traverse City, Michigan. Daws is 11-2 with a .936 save percentage in 17 outings this season.
The upcoming world juniors will be from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.