Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets prospects make WJC short list

Petan, Morrissey pumped at chance

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Josh Morrissey and Nic Petan have survived the gruelling first test: the long marathon that is just getting on Hockey Canada's radar.

And now it really, really gets hard.

The two Winnipeg Jets 2013 draft picks -- Morrissey, 13th overall and Petan, 43rd -- were among the 25 players announced Monday for the national junior team selection camp, beginning Dec. 12 in Etobicoke, Ont.

The 2014 world junior championship opens in Malmo, Sweden later this month and the final 22-man roster must be set by Dec. 25. That means three players are going to receive some bummer news just before Christmas.

"This is a great honour, absolutely," said Petan on Monday when reached in Portland, where he stars for the Western Hockey League's Winterhawks with a two camp invitees, defenceman Derrick Pouliot and forward Taylor Leier.

"It's kind of surreal... you watch the world juniors every year, you watch the great players and it almost doesn't seem real now to be close to that. But I'm ready for the challenge.

"Ryan Jankowski (Canada's national junior team head scout) called this morning to let all three of us know. That was a pretty cool call to answer. There were nothing but smiles after that one."

Petan scored four goals in the Winterhawks' win over the Saskatoon Blades on Sunday and is second in the WHL in scoring with 19 goals and 41 assists in 28 games. Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter compared his skill set to that of the dynamic Jonathan Drouin, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, selected third overall last spring.

"Petan is very similar, in many ways, to Drouin," said Sutter in a conference call Monday. "He has great skill and we expect a lot from them offensively."

Petan has been visited this season by both Jimmy Roy and Mike Keane of the Jets' player development department and said his stint at the club's main camp in September helped give him a glimpse of where he needs to take his game.

"Being at an NHL training camp for the first time, you get to see how all the older guys act," said Petan. "It's good to see what they do on a daily basis and how hard they work at practice. It opens up your eyes to see how hard you have to work just to make it to that level."

Morrissey, meanwhile, is the captain of the Prince Albert Raiders and leads all WHL defencemen in goals this season with 13 and has added 19 assists in 26 games. Said Morrissey of the selection, via his Twitter account: 'Thanks for all the kind words! Extremely honoured to be named to the World Junior selection camp. Beyond Excited for the opportunity!'

"Josh might be a smaller-type defenceman," said Sutter, "but he's very mobile, very intelligent, makes a good first pass he's also someone who loves to jump up in the play and create offence."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 3, 2013 0

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