William Eklund might have dropped out of the World Junior Championships, but Thomas Bordeleau still appears to be in.
Yesterday, Team Sweden announced that Eklund was bowing out of next month’s rebooted WJCs. Eklund told Aftonbladet, “I feel that I need time to prepare in the best way possible before training camp in September. My goal is to take a spot in the NHL. The World Juniors are not at an ideal time and this decision is the best for my development.”
Eklund’s agent Todd Diamond confirmed to San Jose Hockey Now that it was ultimately the player who made the decision: “After dev camp, William understood that with the month needed for WJC, he wouldn’t be prepared to compete for [an] NHL roster spot.”
It looks like the San Jose Sharks are leaving it up to their top prospects to decide their participation in the WJCs, which kick off on Aug. 9 in Red Deer.
Bordeleau, like Eklund, is expected to challenge for an NHL job this fall.
To each his own though: Bordeleau’s agent Pat Brisson told SJHN that his client is still committed to Team USA, if the 20-year-old is selected for the team.
Bordeleau, along with San Jose Sharks’ 2022 second-round pick Cam Lund, is invited to USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp, beginning on Jul. 24 in Plymouth, MI. Team USA will name its team on Aug. 3 and Bordeleau is expected to be a part of it.
Bordeleau, of course, has missed the last two WJCs because of unforeseen circumstances, and has not hidden his desire to make up for that.
The Sharks’ 2020 second-round pick was expected to make Team USA’s 2021 World Juniors squad, but an ultimately false positive COVID-19 test for his roommate John Beecher dashed those hopes. Then on the eve of December’s 2022 WJCs, Bordeleau, again a shoo-in for Team USA, tested positive for COVID-19 himself.
“I love every single guy that’s going to be on that team,” Bordeleau said of his potential Team USA teammates at last week’s San Jose Sharks development camp. “I’ve either played with them or hung out with them in some way and guys from [my alma mater] Michigan too, so it’s going to be fun to see them again.”
As for other San Jose Sharks prospects who might play in next month’s World Juniors, 2021 third-round pick Ben Gaudreau, 2022 fourth-round pick Mason Beaupit, and 2021 fourth-round pick Gannon Laroque were invited to Team Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Camp. The camp is set to commence on Jul. 23 and will help decide Canada’s roster. Laroque, however, cannot attend because of a lower-body injury.
2022 second-round pick Mattias Havelid will represent Sweden.
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