Monday, November 29, 2010

Projecting the United States WJC Roster

Team Canada released today their preliminary roster for the 2010 World Junior Championship which will take place this season in Buffalo, NY. As always, the Canadians will be very, very good. They have invited four college players to camp, Jaden Schwartz from Colorado College, Reilley Smith (Brendan's brother) from Miami, Riley Sheahan from Notre Dame, and Dylan Olsen from Minnesota-Duluth.

I thought now would be a good time to take a peek at who the United States may invite to their preliminary roster which will be announced on December 7th. The United States is inviting 28 players (final roster will have 22) to Albany for a training camp starting December 16th where they will prep for the tournament which starts on December 26th.

Team USA is in an interesting spot this season where they have multiple players who are eligible for the tournament that would be locks to make the USA roster but are playing professional hockey. Those players include Nick Leddy and Jeremy Morin who are Blackhawks prospects currently playing in the AHL in Rockford, Jerry D'Amigo who is a Maple Leaf prospect playing in the AHL for the Toronto Marlies, Kyle Palmieri who is a Ducks prospect currently playing in the AHL for Syracuse and Cam Fowler who is in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks.

Using past examples for the current group of kids, I would assume that the kids playing in the AHL (Leddy, Morin, D'Amigo, and Palmieri) will probably be released to play in the tournament, especially since it's on home soil in Buffalo. Last season, defenseman John Carlson, who scored the game winner in OT to beat Canada in the gold medal game was playing in the AHL and was released to play in the tournament.

There is no way that Cam Fowler is released from the Ducks. Fowler is averaging over 22 minutes per game with the Ducks this season which is third on the team. The Ducks can't afford to release him for a 2 week tournament. The Thrashers were put in a similar situation last year with Zach Bogosian and he was not released.

Players off of last seasons gold medal squad that return include Windsor Spitfires (OHL) goaltender Jack Campbell, Wisconsin defenseman John Ramage, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) forward Ryan Bourque, Toronto Marlies (AHL) forward Jerry D'Amigo, Boston College Forward Chris Kreider, Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL) forward Jeremy Morrin, Syracuse Crunch (AHL) forward Kyle Palmieri, and Denver forward Jason Zucker.

The final roster will include 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. We've already got a solid base of 6 forwards, 2 defensemen, and a goalie, so we just need to fill those last 13 spots and there are many attractive options out there.

Anyways, here is my projected roster.

Ryan Bourque-Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Jerry D'Amigo-Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Chris Kreider-Boston College
Jeremy Morrin-Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Kyle Palmieri-Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Jason Zucker-Denver University
Nick Bjugstad-University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Rocco Grimaldi-USA NTDP U18
Charlie Coyle-Boston University
Beau Bennett-Denver University
Brandon Saad-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Jared Knight-London Knights (OHL)
Drew Shore-Denver University
Shane Prince-Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Chris Brown-University of Michigan
Emerson Etem-Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

John Ramage-University of Wisconsin
Nick Leddy-Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Derek Forbort-University of North Dakota
Jon Merrill-University of Michigan
Justin Faulk-University of Minnesota-Duluth
Adam Clendening-Boston University
Brian Dumoulin-Boston College
Stephen Johns-Notre Dame
Austin Levi-Plymouth Whalers

Jack Campbell-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Andy Isles-Cornell
Brandon Maxwell-Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
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