On the heels of Hockey Canada’s announcement of their 2013 WJC selection camp roster on Monday, USA Hockey announced their preliminary roster for the tournament on Tuesday. Other countries such as Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic have done the same as teams must have their final rosters submitted to the IIHF by December 25th as the tournament starts on the 26th in Ufa, Russia.
27 players were invited to the camp, 3 goalies, 15 forwards and 9 defenseman. 13 states are represented amongst the 27 players as well as 9 NHL clubs and 8 of the players were first round picks by their respective clubs.
Only 3 players return from last years squad that finished in a very disappointing 7th place and those players are goalie John Gibson, defenseman Jacob Trouba and forward JT Miller.
There is also two potential first round draft picks in defenseman Seth Jones (a consensus top 5 pick) and forward Ryan Hartman. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any snubs but feel free to let me know if you think someone is missing by letting me know in the comments section below.
The Team USA preliminary roster is as follows:
Seth Jones – WHL Portland Winterhawks (2013 NHL Entry Draft eligible)
Patrick Sieloff – OHL Windsor Spitfires (Calgary Flames)
Cole Bardreau – ECAC Cornell University (Unsigned)
Tyler Biggs – OHL Oshawa Generals (Toronto Maple Leafs)
John Gaudreau – HE Boston College (Calgary Flames)
Ryan Hartman – OHL Plymouth Whalers (2013 NHL Entry Draft eligible)
J.T. Miller – AHL Connecticut Whale (New York Rangers)
Blake Pietila -WCHA Michigan State University, WCHA (New Jersey Devils)
Vince Trocheck – OHL Saginaw Spirit (Florida Panthers)
Team USA’s camp will run December 16th though the 18th at the New York Rangers’ practice facility in Greenough, NY and a skating session or two may be held at Madison Square Garden. After that the camp will relocate to Helsinki, Finland from December 19th to the 23rd. In addition to practices in Finland, Team USA will have exhibition games against Sweden and Finland.
The head coach for the Americans will be former NHL defenseman, Phil Housley, who was a 7 time NHL all-star and represented the United States 11 times throughout his playing career. At the time of Housley’s retirement from the NHL, he was the NHL’s all time leader in points and games by an American-born player. Mike Modano passed Housley as the all time points leader in 2007. Housley was also an assistant coach for Team USA when they won gold at the 2010 WJC.
The Americans are in Group B which includes such powerhouses as Russia and Canada, so while it will be a tough road for Team USA, it will not be an impossible one. A medal is very much a possibility and I expect this team to improve on the 7th place finish from last years tournament, which was the worst America has done in the WJC since 1999 when they finished 8th overall. Go get’em boys.