On Wednesday, USA Hockey will announce its pre-tournament camp roster for the U.S. National Junior team in preparation for the 2014 World Junior Championship. The candidates will then convene in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota for the first portion of its camp Dec. 15-18.
This U.S. team will be missing some key age-eligible players either due to injury or NHL duties. Because of that, the depth for this team is a little troublesome. A relatively lackluster summer camp in Lake Placid (that at least ended on a high note) and a potentially confusing first half for some players must have made for some tough decisions.
With Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba and Alex Galchenyuk in the NHL, which is something Team USA had to know was coming, a rather unexpected blow to the depth and experience came this week.
Defenseman Patrick Sieloff, who has been out since early October after contracting an infection after receiving an injection for a sore hip, won’t be available for Team USA. He is currently home in Ann Arbor, Mich., recovering from the infection and is not expected back in action by the Calgary Flames organization until early 2014. Sieloff would have been the lone returnee on defense.
Additionally, I have heard, but have been unable to definitively confirm that Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick and eligible returning forward Ryan Hartman’s availability for the tournament is questionable. He has been out since Nov. 9 with an undisclosed injury.
If Hartman is indeed out, that leaves forward Riley Barber and goalie Jon Gillies as the lone returnees from last year’s gold-medal squad. That’s a dramatic turnover in roster.