LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — If Matt Finn wondered about the challenge that will come in the form of earning a spot on Canada’s blue line at the 2014 world junior, he now knows how difficult it will be.
Finn, picked 35th by the Maple Leafs in 2012, was sound in two games with Canada this week at USA Hockey’s world junior exhibition tournament, and in the process got a better idea of the depth on the blue line.
“You have to find a way to separate yourself from the pack,” said Finn, who scored against Sweden on Thursday and was used on the penalty kill by coach Brent Sutter versus both the Finns and the Swedes.
“Whether it’s offensively or defensively, blocking shots, you have to find something that this team needs.”
Finn was one of three defencemen who did not play against the U.S. on Saturday, along with Ryan Pulock and Slater Koekkoek.
The 19-year-old Finn, who will report to the Guelph Storm for training camp in a few weeks before playing the Leafs’ rookie tournament in London Sept. 5-8, was glad to be used in a shut-down role at times by Sutter this week.
“Being able to do that is an advantage because there are so many offensive defencemen, especially on this team,” Finn said.
“If you are going to make it as an offensive power-play guy, you’re going to have to be one of the best guys at it. We all play that two-way game. To be able to pull yourself back and focus on the defensive side would be a huge advantage.”