USA Hockey unveiled the 29 players selected to the preliminary roster for the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team.
Team USA will hold its training camp from Dec. 14-18 at Agganis Arena here in Boston. The final roster will be announced by December 24th. Team USA chose not to invite forwards Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin or defenseman Noah Hanifin. Although all three players have junior eligibility remaining, none were expected to be freed by their NHL teams to participate in the tournament.
Team USA has been shut out of the medals the last two years at the World Juniors last winning gold in 2013. The camp roster for the 2016 World Junior Championships, has some surprising omission from the final list of the 29 best U20 American players. Free-wheeling offense thrives on the large ice surface of the world juniors so when offensive dynamos get left off the invite list.. well…our guess, it’s politics.
How does Kitchener Rangers forward Jeremy Bracco not make the cut for the selection camp roster despite posting 18 points in 15 games for the Rangers this season? All-time, Bracco is the best playmaker the USNTDP has ever seen. His 122 assists across two seasons passed Patrick Kane’s record of 88. With 168 career points, Bracco is third all-time in USNTDP scoring, behind only Kane (172) and Phil Kessel (180).
What about QMJHL scoring sensation Conor Garland not getting a Team USA invite? His major junior stats are mind boggling. He put up 129 points last season, and seems destined to approach 150 this year, with 69 through just 28 games on pace to break a Sydney Crosby record.
Also, not invited were both Kyle Connor (Michigan) and Jack Roslovic (Miami Ohio), as freshmen, both lead their respective teams in scoring and are drawing rave reviews for their play.
All practices in Boston will take place at Agganis Arena and are open to the public … A total of 21 players named to the preliminary roster have ties to the United States Hockey League … Team USA has medaled in three of the last six IIHF World Junior Championships, winning gold in 2010 and 2013, plus bronze in 2011. The U.S. placed fifth in last year’s tournament … Ron Wilson (Riverside, R.I.) is head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. Ryan Martin (Simsbury, Conn./Detroit Red Wings) and Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass./USA Hockey) are assisting with player evaluation during training camp …
Invitees ( Hockeyrecruits4u players in bold):
Goalies: Brandon Halverson, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (New York Rangers); Luke Opilka, Kitchener, OHL (St. Louis Blues); Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Tyler Parsons, London, OHL (2016 draft eligible)
Defensemen: Louis Belpedio, Miami University, NCHC (Minnesota Wild); Brandon Carlo, Tri-City, WHL (Boston Bruins); William Borgen, St. Cloud State University (Buffalo Sabres); Ryan Collins, University of Minnesota, BIG 10 (Columbus Blue Jackets); Brandon Fortunato, Boston University, H-EAST; Chad Krys, USNTDP, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Charlie McAvoy, USNTDP, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Zachary Werenski, University of Michigan, BIG 10 (Columbus Blue Jackets); Casey Fitzgerald, Boston College, H-EAST (2016 draft eligible)
Forwards: Kieffer Bellows, USNTDP, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Paul Bittner, Portland, WHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Anders Bjork, University of Notre Dame, H-EAST (Boston Bruins); Brock Boeser, University of North Dakota, NCHC (Vancouver Canucks); Alexander DeBrincat, Erie, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Ryan Donato, Harvard University, ECAC (Boston Bruins); Christian Dvorak, London, OHL (Arizona Coyotes); Scott Eansor, Seattle, WHL (2016 draft eligible); Ryan Hitchcock, Yale University, ECAC (2016 draft eligible); Clayton Keller, USNTDP, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Auston Matthews, Zurich, SUI (2016 draft eligible); Ryan MacInnis, Kitchener, OHL (Arizona Coyotes); Sonny Milano, Lake Erie, AHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Nick Schmaltz, University of North Dakota, NCHC (Chicago Blackhawks); Matthew Tkachuk, London, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Colin White, Boston College, H-EAST (Ottawa Senators)