Somewhere, the agonized screams of random Columbus Blue Jackets fan #1 reverberate through the air.
Announced today, USA Hockey has submitted their final roster for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships, whittling down their camp to 22 athletes.
Slated to represent their country in Helsinki, Finland, the American contingent features two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 13 forwards, with 15 skaters having represented the United States in the past.
Captaining this year’s squad is returning blueliner Zach Werenski: The second-youngest skater to ever captain the American World Junior team, the University of Michigan Wolverine (poor, poor random Columbus Blue Jackets fan #1) highlights a roster featuring 11 collegiate skaters.
Here’s the full roster, courtesy of USAHockey.com via Bleacher Report:
|Player||Position||Age||Current Team||NHL Draft Rights|
|Anders Bjork||F||19||Notre Dame (NCAA)||Boston Bruins (2014)|
|Brock Boeser||F||18||North Dakota (NCAA)||Vancouver Canucks (2015)|
|Alex DeBrincat||F||18||Erie Otters (OHL)||2016 Draft Eligible|
|Ryan Donato||F||19||Harvard (NCAA)||Boston Bruins (2014)|
|Christian Dvorak||F||19||London Knights (OHL)||Arizona Coyotes (2014)|
|Scott Eansor||F||19||Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)||Free Agent|
|Ryan Hitchcock||F||19||Yale (NCAA)||Free Agent|
|Auston Matthews||F||18||ZSC Lions (Switzerland)||2016 Draft Eligible|
|Ryan MacInnis||F||19||Kitchener Rangers (OHL)||Arizona Coyotes (2014)|
|Sonny Milano||F||19||Lake Erie Monsters (AHL)||Columbus Blue Jackets (2014)|
|Nick Schmaltz||F||19||North Dakota (NCAA)||Chicago Blackhawks (2014)|
|Matthew Tkachuk||F||18||London Knights (OHL)||2016 Draft Eligible|
|Colin White||F||18||Boston College (NCAA)||Ottawa Senators (2015)|
|Louie Belpedio||D||19||Miami of Ohio (NCAA)||Minnesota Wild (2014)|
|Will Borgen||D||19||St. Cloud State (NCAA)||Buffalo Sabres (2015)|
|Brandon Carlo||D||19||Tri-City Americans (WHL)||Boston Bruins (2015)|
|Brandon Fortunato||D||19||Boston University (NCAA)||Free Agent|
|Chad Krys||D||17||U.S. U-18 National Team||2016 Draft Eligible|
|Charlie McAvoy||D||18||Boston University (NCAA)||2016 Draft Eligible|
|Zach Werenski||D||18||University of Michigan (NCAA)||Columbus Blue Jackets (2015)|
|Brandon Halverson||G||19||Sault Ste. Mari Greyhounds (OHL)||New York Rangers (2014)|
|Alex Nedeljkovic||G||19||Niagara IceDogs (OHL)||Carolina Hurricanes (2014)|
In net, the OHL duo of Nedeljkovic and Halverson will be tasked with stemming the opposing attack. Standing at an average height of 6’2″, the pair of NHL draft picks have combined for a .904 save percentage through 43 Major Junior contests. With the squad grouped against perennial contenders Canada and Sweden, Nedeljkovic and Halverson will need to re-discover their form if they hope to anchor the defense and spark a redeeming run following last year’s disappointing fifth place finish.
Arguably the team’s greatest strength, the forward corps features a healthy mix of NCAA and junior circuit talent. However, in a group that features top OHL scorers Dvorak and DeBrincat in addition to leading collegiate scorer White, Matthews–the number-one prospect in the 2016 NHL Draft–sits as the crown jewel of the bunch. Skating professionally in Switzerland’s National League A, the 18-year old native of Scottsdale, Arizona, leads the ZSC Lions both in goals (14) and points per game, producing at a clip of 1.14 through 25 contests. Having proven his worth at the IIHF tournament before–he posted three points in five games at last year’s competition–Matthews figures to spearhead the high octane American attack.
Scheduled to begin play on Saturday, December 26, Team USA will open group play against Team Canada, kicking off their round robin journey through Group A.