Wednesday, December 4, 2013
USA Hockey today announced their 26-player preliminary roster for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship being held in Malmo, Sweden December 26-January 3. The roster includes three players who wee on last year’s gold-medal squad: Riley Barber, Jon Gillies and Ryan Hartman. Three others, Brady Skjei, Stefan Matteau and Matt Grzelyck, were on the preliminary roster last year but were late cuts from the team. A capsule look at each player on this year’s roster, including the NHL team that owns their rights:
Riley Barber, F (WSH)– Had six points in seven games in last year’s tournament and was one of the team’s top consistent scoring threats. He has 24 points in just 16 games for Miami University this season. Barber is a lock for the team and will be counted on heavily to provide offense.
Will Butcher, D (COL)- Butcher, a freshman at the University of Denver, is an offensive defenseman who played on USA’s 18-Under team that won a silver medal in the World Championship last winter. He has three goals in 13 games thus far in his college debut.
Connor Carrick, D (WSH)- Carrick has played in the AHL this season and also made his NHL debut, scoring his first NHL goal as a 19-year-old. He has not looked out of place as a young rookie pro and should make the team and played a prominent role for Team USA.
J.T. Compher, F (BUF)- Compher is off to a great start to his collegiate career, with 15 points in 14 games for Michigan. The Illinois native had seven points for last year’s 18-Under World Championship squad and should provide speed and offense for the WJC entry. Compher was the Sabres’ second-round pick last spring.
Andrew Copp, F (WPG)- Copp is playing at Michigan and has 13 points in 13 games, producing only slightly less than his teammate Compher. The sophomore had 21 points in 38 games last year as a freshman.
Tony DeAngelo, D (2014 Eligible)- DeAngelo is a defenseman for the Sarnia Sting and has plenty of offensive ability. The undersized blueliner has amassed 39 points in 27 games for the Sting after totaling 58 points in 62 games last season. DeAngelo should be on the final squad and quarterback the power-play for Team USA.
Thatcher Demko, G (2014 Eligible)- Demko backstopped the Under-18 team last year, playing every game for the silver medalists. The San Diego native is a freshman at Boston College, where he has won three of his first four starts. He will compete for the backup spot behind likely starter Jon Gillies.
Tommy DiPauli, F (WSH)- The Notre Dame sophomore is a solid two-way player who will compete for a bottom-six forward for the Americans.
Jack Eichel, F (2015 Eligible)- The 17-year-old is the star of the USDP Under-18 team, with 35 points in 19 games so far this campaign. The gifted Eichel has a real shot of making the final roster.
Adam Erne, F (TB)- Erne brings size and grit to the table, which the team will need up front. He plays in the QMJHL for Quebec, where he has 32 points in 26 games following his 72 point total in 68 games. Erne should be on the final roster.
Hudson Fasching, F (LA)- Fasching was also on last year’s 18-Under team, scoring six points in seven games for Team USA. Fasching has 14 points in 14 games as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, and has an intriguing blend of size and skill.
Ryan Fitzgerald, F (BOS)- A small, quick forward who a 4th-round pick of the Bruins, Fitzgerald has surprised with a point a game as a freshman at Boston College. He will battle for a spot on the final roster.
Jon Gillies, G (CGY)- The backup on last year’s squad will likely be the main man this year for the Americans. The 6-5 netminder is one of the top goalies in the NCAA, posting stellar numbers for Providence College (10-1, 1.81, .945) and is possibly the future ‘tender in Calgary.
Matt Grzelcyk, D (BOS)- Another hometown draft pick of the Bruins, the small but skilled Grzelcyk was one of the final cuts of last year’s team. The mobile 5’9 d-man plays a good all-around game and should have a spot to lose going into training camp.
Ryan Hartman, F (CHI)- Hartman will be counted on for leadership and physical, two-way play for Team USA, after playing a bottom-six role very well last year. He is one of the favorites to be named team captain.
Anthony Stolarz, G (PHI)- The lanky (6-6) goalie will give Gillies competition for top spot in net. The New Jersey native is playing for London in the OHL and putting up very solid numbers for the second year in a row.