That time of year is coming up where the best young players in the world get to play in the World Juniors Tournament. The CBJ should be well represented by a number of good young prospects currently playing in college, the Canadian Junior League and overseas. I would like your thoughts on whether it would be in the best interests of the team and the player if Fantilli was given the opportunity to suit up for Team Canada next month.
Typically, young superstars that are already playing in the NHL don't participate, for several good reasons. If GMs think a 19 year old is good enough to be playing in the NHL, the team wants the young stars to help contribute wins for the club. Besides, if a young player is already good enough for the NHL, general wisdom is there is nothing left to learn playing with other 18 and 19 year olds, even if they are the best young hockey players in the world.
The CBJ aren't going to make the playoffs this year and the tourney only lasts a couple of weeks anyway so it wouldn't be that many games. Fantilli would get the chance to be the centerpiece, go-to player for Team Canada: that is a role we would like him to grow into here, so why not give him a chance to gain that experience on a world stage. The World Juniors is a big deal in Canada, drawing similar TV ratings as NHL games. Showcasing our future stars can only help the visibility of the franchise throughout North America.
For all those reasons, I am taking the long view and would lean to "yes," (assuming that Fantilli would jump at the chance to play for his country.) Please let me know your thoughts.