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Owen Beck and Cédrick Guindon at ÉCJ camp: breaking through will be tough

Last winter, one of the big questions for Junior Team Canada was whether Owen Beck would be able to carve out a position with the team. The versatile center forward impressed at camp, but in the end, he didn’t make the cut.

He had finally joined the club in a hurry at the end of the tournament following Colton Dach’s injury. His role was fairly limited, but he did well in his three games.

That’s why today, not too surprisingly, we learned that Beck had been invited to ÉCJ’s summer camp, along with another CH prospect in Cédrick Guindon. Note that 11 QMJHL players are also attending.

Beck and Guindon are among the long list of names who will be trying to force the hand of ÉCJ management in order to secure a position with the team. The problem, however, is that the competition around them will be very, very stiff.

While Connor Bedard almost certainly won’t be there, and it’s doubtful the Blue Jackets will let Adam Fantilli take part, there are plenty of good Canadian forwards: Zach Benson, Nate Danielson, Conor Geekie, Matthew Savoie, Matthew Wood and Brayden Yager were all top-15 picks in the last two drafts.

And it doesn’t stop there: Colby Barlow, Jordan Dumais, Ethan Gauthier, Jagger Firkus and David Goyette are all excellent forwards who could well earn a spot.

In addition, young Macklin Celebrini, one of the top prospects in the upcoming draft, is expected to garner a lot of attention.

Beck’s advantage is that he’s the only forward who played for ÉCJ at the last World Junior Championship who was present at the summer camp. Fantilli was invited, but didn’t show up for whatever reason (possibly because he expects to play in the NHL next year).

I think Beck should be able to carve out a spot (maybe more in a defensive-flavored role, though), but I really doubt Guindon will be able to pull it off. He’s got the talent to prove me wrong, but it’s going to be very difficult considering the competition around him.

However, if Beck were to impress at the CH’s next camp to the point of earning a spot with the big club (which I doubt, mainly for reasons of attacking congestion), the Tricolore could very well prevent him from taking part in the tournament. I doubt they will if Beck plays in junior, but you never know.

We’ll be keeping an eye on him, but the competition for a spot on the ÉCJ will be very stiff. I’m looking forward to seeing what Beck, Guindon and the other QMJHL youngsters have in store for them, personally.

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