On Day 3 of the World Junior Championship, the U.S. National Junior Team’s roster has been finalized. USA Hockey has rostered Patrick Sieloff to be the seventh defenseman. That move comes at the expense of Matt Grzelcyk, who has been sent home.
The decision was delayed by an apparent medical issue, which has been fully cleared.
Sieloff brings some much-needed physicality to Team USA. A defensive defenseman, the Calgary Flames prospect has good enough puck skills to move the puck up ice and help support Team USA’s run-and-gun offense, but his steadiness on the back end is a big reason he’s here.
Just as strong a case could be made for Grzelcyk, who has terrific offensive capabilities and plays sound defensively. It appears with the success of Mike Reilly and Shayne Gostisbehere in similar roles early in the tournament, Grzelcyk’s skill set became expendable. It’s a tough call to make as Grzelcyk has the talent to be a part of this team, but USA Hockey needed some more physicality on the back end and that’s what Sieloff brings.
Coming up after the jump, a look at Team USA’s official lineup for today’s game against Russia, which begins at 9 a.m. ET and airs on NHL Network in the U.S., TSN in Canada and will stream live on NHL.com.
Team USA Lineup vs. RUS
13 Gaudreau – 10 Miller – 23 Grimaldi
— This line got better as the game went on against Germany, so expect more out of them today. There were elements that were working for this line and others that did not. This trio has potential to be deadly with an overload on speed and skill.
15 Galchenyuk – 7 Kuraly – 16 Barber
— Team USA’s best line against Germany, all three of these guys had multi-point games with Barber and Galchenyuk leading the way with three apiece. Kuraly showed he belongs as a top-six center, while Galchenyuk was as good as advertised. See if these guys can keep clicking in a much tougher contest.
12 Lucia – 25 Trocheck – 22 Biggs
— Some inconsistencies dogged this line against Germany, but they generated chances and played physically. Lucia never really got going like you’d expect him to against Germany, so keep an eye on Jimmy Vesey potentially getting a few more shifts with this group.
20 Pietila – 18 Bardreau – 21 Hartman
— The Grind Line didn’t have to grind as much against Germany as it will today against the top scoring units for Russia. They should see shifts against Russia’s top unit of Sigaryov, Yakupov and Khokhlachev. Defense will be key for this group.
6 Reilly – 3 Jones
— This pairing was a big part of what Team USA was able to do offensively. Reilly had a terrific game stretching the ice with passes and using his speed, while Jones remained sound in his own end and added offense of his own.
14 Gostisbehere – 8 Trouba
— This pair will have to be careful to not get caught up ice against a potentially dominant top six for Russia. It can’t lose all of its offensive edge however. They’ll need to find that balance to make them successful.
19 McCabe – 5 Murphy
— The closest thing to a shut-down pair the U.S. has, these guys should get a lot of assignments against Russia’s top six. They have the smarts and mobility to match up well and shut down those forward groups.
— He’s here because he can defend and hit. Sieloff will have to play physically, but controlled. Canada is facing multiple suspensions after today’s game, so Sieloff can’t be reckless.
— Gibson will get the nod to go against the vaunted Russian attack. He’ll see a lot more quality shots today than yesterday and will have to be ready for anything. This game couldn’t get any bigger for Gibson.