USA Hockey has extended invitations to 42 players to participate in the World Junior Summer Showcase in late July/early August, and Canucks prospect Will Lockwood is on the list.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) June 20, 2017
Lockwood, taken in the third round (64th overall) in 2016, had a highly positive draft-plus-one campaign as a member of the University of Michigan Wolverines, scoring 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 30 games. Lockwood’s selection in 2015 was seen as a bit of a reach given that he was ranked much later, but as the millennials would say, we were already woke to the idea that Lockwood could be better that the numbers suggested, thanks to The Gaudette Effect. From Lockwood’s prospect profile back in January:
We at Canucks Army take a whole lot of pride in being right about things, but it’s also extremely important to acknowledge when you are wrong – otherwise, you’ll be doomed to make the same mistakes in the future.
We are certainly learning, and it narrowly stopped us from making the same mistake twice. We panned the Gaudette pick in 2015, and after a great freshman year at Northeastern, we had to admit we were wrong. That’s why even though we were plenty skeptical about the selection of Will Lockwood in 2016, we figured we’d better give the Canucks’ USHL scouting staff the benefit of the doubt.
It looks like the Canucks were deserving of receiving that benefit of the doubt, as Lockwood jumped from an expected likelihood of success of 0% following his 2015-16 season with the USNTDP to a respectable 15% in the NCAA this past year. That number was actually higher earlier in the season (reported as 19% in January) when Lockwood was closer to a point per game production, but his point rate fell off as he struggled in the back half of the season playing through injury.
The summer showcase will take place between July 29th and August 5th and will involve a series of exhibition games between the US, Canada, Sweden and Finland. The mini-tournament is essentially an audition for a spot on the roster of the U20 team at the World Junior Championships in December. Given his age and success in the NCAA, Lockwood should have a decent chance at making the squad. Team USA has shown preference for players that have stayed in the US (and have experience with the USNTDP in particular) as opposed to going to Canada, and there are 10 CHL players among the 42 invitees.
The roster includes a myriad of prospects both drafted and undrafted. Among the players eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft this weekend are Casey Mittelstadt, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Norris, Evan Barratt, Jason Robertson, and more.