New York Rangers 2019 draft picks Matthew Robertson and Hunter Skinner have been invited to World Junior Summer Camps.
Robertson, drafted 49th overall, will be attending Canada’s camp. Already known for his game as a mobile shutdown defenseman, Robertson improved his offensive output in the WHL this season and was a no-brainer selection for this camp.
Hockey Canada announces the 41 players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp. pic.twitter.com/rymKZXomsk— HockeyProspect.com (@ScoutingService) June 16, 2020
Though this is still plenty of time for the situation to change until the (presumed) December World Junior Championship, Robertson will be in very difficult battle for, if not a spot on Canada’s final roster, then a bonafide top-six spot. Bowen Byram and Thomas Harley, drafted in the 2019 first round, are the top defensemen of the group and, like Robertson, are left-handed. One would think Robertson is the favorite for the third pairing, but Canada has strong depth and he’ll have to earn the spot.
Hunter Skinner, inclusion on Team USA’s roster is not something many would have foreseen a year ago, but it is well deserved. Although I was harsh on the Rangers’ decision to select him in the fourth round, his play with the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League forced me to publish a mea culpa.
I would guess that, despite his success in 2019-20, Skinner is on the outside looking in for USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship. His season was good, but not great, and he’ll have to overcome the bias towards high draft picks and US National Development Team alumni. However, this year’s crop of defensemen is fairly weak and particularly so on the right side. His booming shot is also unmatched by any defensemen in camp. Skinner’s handedness and skillset may be enough to stand out and earn a spot on the final roster. No final decisions are made at these summer camps, but they do play a big role.
Typically, these camps take place in late July and feature multiple exhibition games between USA, Canada, Sweden, and Finland. However, the current pandemic has thrown those plans into limbo and, for now, the latter three countries have pulled themselves out of those games. At some point decisions will have to be made on if/when any games should be scheduled and what these camps will entail.