Nugent-Hopkins to be named to WJC selection camp
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skates during the 2012 National Junior Team Development Camp at Rexall Place (Photo by Andy Devlin).
The 20-year-old is currently en route to Edmonton where he's scheduled to undergo a quick check-up on his left shoulder -- a "purely precautionary" measure, reports TSN's Hockey Insider, Bob McKenzie.
If all is clear, which it's expected to be, Nugent-Hopkins will suit up in the nation's iconic red and white colours this holiday season for the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia -- assuming, of course, that there isn't a new collective bargaining agreement in place by then.
RNH's agent, Rick Valette, via Spector's report: "He told me late Friday night, 'I want to play for my country.' He wants to play. He wants to win a gold medal."
Nugent-Hopkins has already done so once overseas, albeit on a smaller scale when he helped Team Canada win gold at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia. The Burnaby, BC native has yet to get a chance at the U-20 level.
During the 2010-11 season, Nugent-Hopkins was invited to the selection camp but was among one of the final few to be cut. The Canadians had to settle for a silver medal after losing 5-3 to Russia in the gold medal game that year. You can bet a similar circumstance won't play out this time around. RNH is a stone-cold lock to make the team, as he should be.
In order to maintain his eligibility for the 2012 WJC, he participated in Team Canada's midsummer development camp at Rexall Place, but his obligation (and success) with the Oilers precluded him from playing in last year's tournament.
This past May in Helsinki, Finland, Nugent-Hopkins potted four goals and six points in seven games with Team Canada at the 2012 World Hockey Championship.
In 19 games with the Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons this season, Nugent-Hopkins has collected eight goals, 20 points and a +7 rating.
Other 2011 Top-10 picks Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers) and Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) are also expected to get the call and could be on a line with Nugent-Hopkins when camp gets going on Dec. 11 in Calgary.
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick