" What we like about this group is they've trended truly, actually well from September to now," said Brad McEwen, the program's head scout." It's an open race," stated Mark Hunter, general supervisors of the OHL's London Knights and a member of the management group." We've played him 3 times and he's shut us down," stated forward Cole Perfetti, who plays for the OHL's Saginaw Spirit."He helps me be a lot more comfy," Daws stated."Not getting drafted, never playing for Team Canada, not going to any NHL camps ... it's great to play good and show people incorrect," he stated.

Moncton goalie Olivier Rodrigue might have a history with Hockey Canada at a lower age group but the goaltending position, which is Canada's greatest concern mark entering this year's world junior tourney, is an "open race," according to team management member Mark Hunter. ( Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
Daws is among four goalies at Canada's selection camp this week in Oakville, Ont., wanting to make an area on the 23-man lineup for the under-20 competition that runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in the Czech Republic.

Olivier Rodrigue and Hunter Jones have a history with Hockey Canada at lower age groups and were both part of the setup this summer season, however Daws and Joel Hofer are green on the international stage as the nation prepares to take three netminders overseas.

" What we like about this group is they've trended truly, actually well from September to now," stated Brad McEwen, the program's head scout. "They've all got incredibly great numbers, they've got wins, their teams are all doing well. They've put themselves in a great spot."

That's true, but the crease is also Canada's biggest enigma.

" It's an open race," stated Mark Hunter, basic managers of the OHL's London Knights and a member of the management group. "It's a good difficulty for each goalie because dressing space."

World juniors wasn't on radar

Daws, nevertheless, wasn't sure back in the fall he was ever going to get his opportunity in Guelph, let alone with Canada.

" I came into this season not knowing where I was going to play," he stated. "It wound up exercising. I got to stay in Guelph. I really showed myself.

" Really delighted other individuals are starting to take notification."

The world juniors wasn't on his radar up until he was invited to play for the OHL team in November's Canada-Russia exhibit series, where Daws, who had a sub -.900 save portion in junior before this season, stopped all 13 shots he faced.

" I truly didn't have any expectations like that," he said of global play. "I just wished to be a tested starter."

Set to turn 19 on Dec. 22 when Canada will be making its final preparations in Europe prior to facing the United States on Boxing Day, the six-foot-four, 202-pound Daws has actually impressed his potential Canadian colleagues.

" We've played him 3 times and he's shut us down," stated forward Cole Perfetti, who bets the OHL's Saginaw Spirit. "It's quite cool. He wasn't part of the program for under-17s, under-18s, however he is worthy of to be here."

" His numbers do not lie," included Erie Otters defenceman Jamie Drysdale.

Familiar face

Daws said he hasn't felt any pressure this week as part of a 31-man lineup that consists of 11 first-round choices, and a number of others anticipated to go high at the 2020 draft.

" [Nobody's] really expecting anything from you," he stated. "You simply attempt and do your thing."

Daws trains with Jones in the summertime and said it's been nice having at least one familiar face around the rink and the hotel.

"He helps me be a lot more comfy," Daws stated. "There's a lot of people here that I don't know."

Jones wants Canada's No. 1 task for himself, of course, however is happy of his workout partner's rise.

"He's just been offered the opportunity," stated the starter for the first-place Peterborough Petes. "He ran and grabbed the ball with it."

For Daws, it's all gravy at this point after viewing 217 names come off the draft board, including 22 goalies, last spring.

"Not getting prepared, never playing for Team Canada, not going to any NHL camps ... it's good to play good and show people incorrect," he said. "I'm attempting to remain in the minute. I've got a lot of work here.

"I don't truly desire to take my foot off the pedal."

Canada's choice camp lineup

FORWARDS

  • Quinton Byfield, Sudbury (OHL)
  • Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL)
  • Ty Dellandrea, Flint (OHL)
  • Aidan Dudas, Owen Sound (OHL)
  • Nolan Foote, Kelowna (WHL)
  • Liam Foudy, London (OHL)
  • Benoît-Olivier Groulx, Halifax (QMJHL)
  • Dylan Holloway, U. of Wisconsin (NCAA)
  • Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg (WHL)
  • Alexis Lafrenière, Rimouski (QMJHL)
  • Raphaël Lavoie, Halifax (QMJHL)
  • Connor McMichael, London (OHL)
  • Dawson Mercer, Drummondville (QMJHL)
  • Alex Newhook, Boston College (NCAA)
  • Jakob Pelletier, Moncton (QMJHL)
  • Cole Perfetti, Saginaw (OHL)
  • Akil Thomas, Niagara (OHL)
  • Joe Veleno, Grand Rapids (AHL)

DEFENCEMEN

  • Calen Addison, Lethbridge (WHL)
  • Kevin Bahl, Ottawa (OHL)
  • Jacob Bernard-Docker, U. of North Dakota (NCAA)
  • Bowen Byram, Vancouver (WHL)
  • Peter Diliberatore, Quinnipiac University (NCAA)
  • Jamie Drysdale, Erie (OHL)
  • Thomas Harley, Mississauga (OHL)
  • Jared McIsaac, Halifax (QMJHL)
  • Braden Schneider, Brandon (WHL)
  • Ty Smith, Spokane (WHL)

GOALIES

  • Nico Daws, Guelph (OHL)
  • Joel Hofer, Portland (WHL)
  • Hunter Jones, Peterborough (OHL)
  • Olivier Rodrigue, Moncton (QMJHL)

Nico Daws had never played globally, never took part in a single Hockey Canada practice and was passed over by all 31 groups at last June's NHL draft.

So how does a goalie with that resumé find himself on the cusp of making his nation's roster for the world junior hockey championship?

Daws took a minute prior to addressing.

" Honestly, I do not actually understand."

His eye-popping numbers over the last 3 months are an excellent place to begin.

Daws leads the Ontario Hockey League with a 2.06 goals-against average and.939 save percentage for the Guelph Storm, who sit 2nd in the general standings, after playing simply 34 combined video games as a backup over his very first two junior seasons.

" I had a good summer," he said. "I understood I had to have a breakout year and really show that I belong."

4-goalie battle 'an open race'

Standing in front of a Hockey Canada background and sporting a crisp black hat decorated with a red Maple Leaf, Daws has actually definitely shown he does.

" It's absolutely an honour, something I've never ever done in the past," stated the local of Burlington, Ont. "When I got the call I was actually excited. Ideally I can make the group and continue."