Last night, Hockey Canada announced a 24-man roster that they would be taking to Europe in preparation ahead of the 2020 World Juniors, following a four-day selection camp in Oakville, Ontario. 2019 Lightning first round pick Nolan Foote was among the 14 forwards they named, which will give Tampa Bay a confirmed prospect playing at the tournament (Maxim Cajkovic should make the cut for Slovakia and Hugo Alnefelt could be the third goalie for Sweden).
Foote only played in Canada’s first scrimmage against an all-star team of Canadian university hockey players from USports. He was scratched for the second game yesterday, giving us a pretty good indication that he’d be making the team later that night.
In the one game, Foote played on the right wing, with Buffalo Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens and 2020 draft top prospect Quinton Byfield. I was really not a fan of Foote on his off-wing. He was a little tentative, had trouble playing the puck and emerging from battles with the puck along the boards, and looked fairly neutralized. I noticed that he did have the tendency to drift to the left side of the ice in the defensive zone, as well.
Foote scored the 3-2 goal for Canada (on the left side of the ice), banging in a rebound on the doorstep. Other than that, he didn’t really have too many great offensive chances - and I never saw him use his heavy, explosive shot. It was probably because he was adjusting to the right side.
Nolan Foote— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 11, 2019
3-2 Team Canada pic.twitter.com/wKWMhqXq7G
It’ll be interesting to see if head coach Dale Hunter continues to deploy Foote on the right side, but I really would advise against it. Players do have to adapt to different playing situations and styles in a short tournament like the World Juniors, but Foote looked ineffective on the right side.
Canada should and likely will rely on him for offense, but the best way to do that would be to play him on the left. They’re incredibly deep at left wing, but I think it will pay dividends for them if they move him back there. If they choose not to, well, Foote had better get adjusted to producing from the right side, and fast.
Foote will help Canada attempt to return to gold medal form in the Czech Republic. This will be Foote’s one and only opportunity to represent Canada at the World Juniors (he’ll be too old next year), and he can also match brother Cal’s medal total at the World Juniors. Hopefully it’s the same colour.
Other Lightning org news
The Lightning won their second consecutive game last night. This time, they beat the Atlantic Division leading Boston Bruins. The Bolts were the better team and earned the two points. Check out Justin’s recap for more details and look out for more thoughts on the game from Geo later this morning.
Head Coach Jon Cooper gave an update on Tyler Johnson’s injury status.
Other hockey news
Zach Bogosian requested a trade from the Buffalo Sabres. I’m sure Jason Botteril would be happy to oblige if he can find an interested team. Bogosian hasn’t looked good so far in limited minutes this season in Buffalo. So unless a team is desperate for a righty and willing to take on his still fairly sizable cap hit for the remainder of the season, Bogosian could find himself waiting quite a while to find a new home.
In serious news, Niagara Ice Dogs goalie Tucker Tynan suffered what appeared to be a serious laceration to his leg during a collision in the crease in a game against the London Knights (warning: link contains some graphic content). The injury was so severe that the OHL postponed the game. Tynan was rushed to the hospital but according to the team, underwent successful surgery and is in stable condition. We join the rest of the hockey world in hoping for the best for Tucker and wishing him a speedy recovery.
Highlight of the Night
Coop was in a good enough mood after the win to have a little fun during the presser.