The Canadian men's under-18 hockey team looks deep on defence.
Hockey Canada has announced 42 players born in 1994 who will compete for the 22 spots on the team at a camp July 30 to Aug. 2 in Calgary.
Canada will attempt to defend its title at the annual Ivan Hlinka tournament Aug. 8-13 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Canada has won the gold medal three straight years.
The summer camp roster, chosen by Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast, includes four goaltenders, 14 defencemen and 24 forwards.
Seven defencemen invited to camp are highly-ranked by the International Scouting Service for the 2012 NHL entry draft: Griffin Reinhart, Mathew Dumba, Morgan Reilly, Slater Koekkoek, Michael Matheson, Gianluca Curcuruto, Derrick Pouliot.
"It's one of the best crops of d-men I've seen in a long time," Prendergast said. "They've all got size, they've all got great talent, they all move the puck. They're not afraid to get involved. They all have the whole package which is something you don't see too often with the whole group.
"It's going to be very interesting to see how we get down to seven defenceman at the end of camp."
Dumba, who plays for the Red Deer Rebels, had 12 assists to lead this year's World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in points.
The camp roster doesn't include defenceman Aaron Ekblad, who was granted exceptional status to play in the Ontario Hockey League next season at 15. Ekblad, born in 1996, was drafted first overall by the Barrie Colts.
"It's an age factor," Prendergast said. "We'd like to keep it to strictly '94s. There's a couple of '95s across the country that probably had the talent to be on this team, but we wanted to keep it in the same ball park where it's all '94s on the team."
The camp roster includes 16 players from the Ontario squad that won the world under-17 tournament. Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67's had game-winning goals for Ontario in the semifinal and championship games.
Forward Charles Hudon of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens was Quebec's captain in the under-17 tournament. He was also named the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League offensive rookie of the year this past season.
Hudon, Koekkoek and Reilly played on the Canadian team that finished fourth at the world under-18 championships in April.
The Canadian team will be coached by Steve Spott of the Kitchener Rangers. His assistants are Mario Duhamel of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Don Nachbauer of the Spokane Chiefs.