Three top prospects for the 2010 NHL draft, including possible No. 1 overall Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers, were among four cuts made Tuesday at the Canadian junior hockey team selection camp.
Left-winger John McFarland of the Sudbury Wolves and defencemen Brandon Gormley of the Moncton Wildcats, both ranked high for the draft in June, also got the axe as well as Los Angeles Kings defence prospect Nicolas Deslauriers of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
The camp roster was trimmed to 31 players. The final 22-man roster for the Dec. 26-Jan. 5 world junior championship in Regina is to be announced on Wednesday.
'I don't think I played to my potential here.' — OHL's Tyler Seguin after being cut at the world junior camp
Seguin, 17, has been battling Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires both for the Ontario Hockey League scoring lead and the No. 1 draft ranking for much of the season. However, the Brampton, Ont., native never got on track at the selection camp while Hall has been a standout.
"I'm definitely disappointed — it's a big opportunity going to waste," said Seguin. "But just the same, I'm 17, and there will be more chances to come."
He said the emphasis on strong two-way play, particularly from the centres, might have taken him off his usual creative, attack-oriented style.
"I don't think I played to my potential here," he said. "I tried to focus on little things too much instead of just relaxing and playing my game and I think that's the reason I got cut.
"Part of my game is being offensive and here I was being too defensive and not capitalizing on some opportunities at the other end."
The six-foot-one 180-pound centre added that "great players have come out of here not making the cut and then getting second chances and that's what I'll hope for."
Depending on how he develops over the rest of the season, Seguin may never play at the world juniors. It's happened before with top talents. Last year, Matt Duchene didn't play the world juniors in Ottawa, but then was drafted third overall by Colorado and jumped straight to the NHL.
The six-foot-two 185-pound Gormley looked to be having a strong camp, but couldn't crack a defence corps loaded with experienced players.
"I'll get another shot at it next year, I hope," the Murray River, P.E.I., native said. "It's disappointing, but I thought I played pretty well throughout the tryouts.
"That's about all you can do. It's a tough situation in Canada. There are a lot of great defencemen and to be 17 coming in, it's tough to make."
McFarland also showed some flashes of his skill in camp, but was in tough against Hall, returning left-winger Stefan Della Rovere, Brandon McMillan, Gabriel Bourque and Philippe Cornet.
"There's a bit of disappointment, but I'm going to take a lot from this camp," the Richmond Hill, Ont., native said.
The six-foot, 200-pound Deslauriers said he enjoyed the camp and will be rooting for the team to win a sixth straight gold medal at the world juniors.
"It was incredible just coming to camp," the St-Anicet, Que., native said. "I give credit to the other players. They're good guys and good players. It was hard, but I gave everything."