USA Hockey named a portion of its roster for the 2013 National Junior Evaluation Camp to be held in Lake Placid, N.Y., August 3-10. The 40 players named Thursday will be competing for spots on the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team, which will be competing at the World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden in December, where the U.S. will seek to defend its gold medal.
The goaltenders will be named to the roster at a later date, but USA Hockey identified 16 defensemen and 24 forwards for its camp, which will include intersquad games, as well as exhibitions against Finland, Sweden and Canada. All three international opponents will also be using the Lake Placid camp as an evaluation for their own junior teams.
Keep in mind, the camp roster isn’t necessarily a final listing of who will be eligible for the team. Most years, a player who did not make the camp, ended up on the final roster. So this is just the first step towards picking Team USA.
The complete roster is here.
The U.S. roster is highlighted by two returnees so far with Patrick Sieloff and Riley Barber on the list. Ryan Hartman is also eligible to return, but will be unable to attend the camp while he rehabs an injury from this season. Also, expect Jon Gillies, who backed up John Gibson last year, to be named as one of the goaltenders for the roster when that is decided.
Among the other players to watch, Stefan Matteau has been invited to camp. The New Jersey Devils prospect saw NHL time this season, but was one of the last cuts for last year’s junior team. Also, Boston University defenseman and Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk, who was the very last cut for Team USA. He actually traveled with the team to the tournament, but was let go after the USA brass decided to add Sieloff a few days into the tournament. Both Matteau and Grzelcyk, should figure prominently into next year’s plans.
Other first-rounders invited to camp include Phoenix’s Henrik Samuelsson and New York Rangers prospect Brady Skjei. Several of the Draft-eligible invitees also could be first rounders by the time camps rolls around, with Adam Erne, J.T. Compher and Steven Santini the most likely to earn that distinction.
Not on the roster, but eligible to return, are Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba and Alex Galchenyuk. It is highly unlikely any of those three will be available for the U.S. team. Obviously, if any was, they’d be on the roster, so it’s probably best not to waste a spot on guys you already know well enough.
Twenty-one of the 40 players invited are NHL Draft eligible in 2013. Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo is eligible in 2014.
Twenty-one camp attendees played college hockey last season, while 18 were in the United States Hockey League (including 11 in the NTDP), and 11 played in the Canadian Hockey League.
I’ll have much more detailed roster analysis as the camp approaches in August, with full preview material and complete camp coverage then.