I simply cannot believe Tyson Sexsmith was invited to Team Canada's world juniors selection camp. I can't understand how a goalie who is so obviously a product of his team has the potential to be representing the best hockey country in the world in an international tournament. Here are three stat lines: Sexsmith over the last 3 seasons, his backup goalies over the last 3 seasons, and the numbers of the Vancouver Giants starting goalie who preceded Sexsmith from 2005-06. See if you can spot the resemblance:
1.89 GAA, .911 save %, .742 win %
1.89 GAA, .910 save %, .731 win %
1.90 GAA, .912 save %, .713 win %
Team Canada often seems to do this for these tournaments, picking goalies off the best defensive teams at the expense of guys that are better but have inferior teammates. Chet Pickard and Dustin Tokarski are by all accounts pretty decent goaltenders, but doing the same exercise indicates that they also have the advantage of playing on great defensive teams. Here is the combined stat line this season for the backup goalies of the 3 WHL goalies invited to Canada's selection camp:
18 GP, 14-0-2, 1.63, .933, 3 SO
Let's just say I don't particularly trust our nation's junior scouts in terms of separating the goalie from the team.
But worst of all, Sexsmith's invitation to the camp was sent at the expense of the best junior goalie in Canada. For some reason Belleville's Mike Murphy never got a call. Let's look at how Murphy compares to his goalie teammates over the last two years, as well as compared to his predecessor in the net in Belleville:
Murphy: 2.15 GAA, .935 save %, 53-10-8, 5 SO
Backups: 3.35 GAA, .895 save %, 15-11-1, 2 SO
Previous: 3.01 GAA, .919 save %, 27-17-3, 3 SO
It is pretty hard to look at those numbers and not conclude that this guy is a difference-maker. Murphy led the OHL in save percentage last year (.929) and is leading it again this year by a wide margin (.944). Despite facing over 35 shots per game, Murphy is still leading the OHL in GAA, which is remarkable. Meanwhile, Tyson Sexsmith faces less than 22 shots per game and only ranks 3rd in the WHL in GAA (and just 15th in save percentage).
Apparently last year Sexsmith was rated the most overrated player in the WHL by a wide margin, which makes sense. However, I guess none of those people were involved in picking this year's squad. Hopefully Canada's coaching staff decides to go with some combination of Tokarski, Pickard or fourth option Jake Allen on the basis that they are far more deserving of the honour than Sexsmith.