World Juniors: Team Canada Loses Devante Smith-Pelley for Remainder of Tourney

Mike BurseCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

Devante Smith-Pelly celebrating one of his three NHL goals with his teammates prior to the World Junior tournament.
Devante Smith-Pelly celebrating one of his three NHL goals with his teammates prior to the World Junior tournament.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Devante-Smith Pelly was playing in the NHL as a right-handed rookie forward when Anaheim Ducks loaned him to Team Canada for the World Junior Tournament.

The 6', 211-pound power forward averaged seven shots a game and 10 hits while playing in the NHL. He's a native of Scarborough, Ontario and was drafted by Anaheim in the 2010 NHL entry draft in the second-round, 42nd overall.

He was injured during Team Canada's 8-1 defeat of Team Finland in last night's game. He blocked a shot in the second period of the game and fractured his left foot, according to The Globe and Mail. As can be seen by statistics from the NHL he was expected to be a large part of the team Canada attack and also a bruising forward who can wear down opponents defense with his forechecking. In the game against Team Finland, he did appear to be a man among boys and will be greatly missed by the Canadian forward ranks.

This also means that Canada will have to go with just 12 forwards for the remainders of the tourney, as teams are not allowed to replace non-goalie roster players due to injuries.

During their first game against Team Finland, Tanner Pearson played the role of 13th forward. He would appear to be due for more ice time now in this tournament due to the loss of Smith-Pelly.

The only remaining NHL player on the Canadian roster will be Brett Connolly from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canadian coach Don Hay will be looking for Brett Connolly to step up and provide offense and leadership for his forward ranks.

For the Anaheim Ducks, this also has long-lasting consequences. Smith-Pelly is expected to be gone for four to six weeks with a fractured foot. The team will surely miss his speed and ability to get in on the forecheck and hit the defenders.

Unfortunately, this is one of the risks that NHL franchises take when loaning their young prospects currently filling a role in the NHL to the Junior tournament.

Expect Kyle Palmieri, George Parros and Rod Pelley to get more playing time in Smith-Pelly's absence.