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Jan 08The WJC summed up in seven thoughts
Jan 08The future of Avalanche blueline resides in Canada
Jan 06Gold medal recap: Canada wins gold at WJC in Buffalo
Jan 05WJC Semifinals Recap – Sweden, Canada advance to gold medal game
Jan 03WJC Quarterfinals Recap: The Czechs upset Finland – Canada cruises to semifinals
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December 06, 2017

Americans look to finally come through on home ice 

The United States is in a golden age of hockey. 

In 2016, a record-breaking 12 American players selected in the first round of the NHL draft, led by Auston Matthews, who was selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and other top-10 talents Clayton Keller and Matthew Tkachuk. The previous year, Jack Eichel was taken second behind prodigy Connor McDavid, and Noah Hanifin and Zach Werenski weren’t far behind. 

And unsurprisingly, the immense amount of talent produced at the junior ranks by the American National Developmental Program has translated to international success never seen before by the country. Since 2010, the Americans have won three gold medals at the World Junior Championships, dwarfing the one gold medal the country had won in the previous 35 tournaments since its official inception in 1977. 

But the unprecedented level of success enjoyed by the United States National Program hasn’t been without valleys to go along with its peaks.

After winning gold in 2010 over Canada in front of their home crowd in Saskatoon, the Americans failed to follow through the following year at home in Buffalo, losing to Canada in the semifinals. The following year, the Americans ended up in the relegation round. In 2013, they beat Sweden in the gold medal game, then followed it up with back-to-back losses in the quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015. 

This winter, the United States will host the tournament in Buffalo as defending champions. Last year, they beat Canada in a thrilling gold medal game that featured the Americans rallying from two separate two-goal deficits to win the game in a shootout. 

Does that sound familiar? Just like in 2010, the United States stunned Canada in the gold medal game in front of their home fans. The following year’s tournament was held in Buffalo and there was a lot of hype surrounding the home team following it up with another gold medal on home soil. That didn’t happen. 

The Americans will look to flip the script this year in front of their home fans in Buffalo with a team consisting of a lot of new faces. At least 15 players from last year’s roster won’t be back. Among them a standout player like Clayton Keller who is still eligible to participate, but is enjoying an excellent rookie seasons in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes, and will not be back for obvious reasons. 

Casey Mittelstadt. Photo: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

Players who figure to return to this year’s squad in Buffalo are goaltenders Jake Oettinger (who was a third-string) and Joseph Woll, defencemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren, and forwards Joseph Anderson, Kieffer Bellows, and Patrick Harper. That isn’t a very big group of veterans, but still, the Americans have a load of fresh talent available to them for this year’s tournament to choose from. 

Particularity, a major strength of the American roster will be a gauntlet of highly-skilled forwards. At the forefront of that is Casey Mittelstadt, the eighth overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2017 NHL draft. He wasn’t on the American team last year, but he’ll likely have a big opportunity to be a dynamic force on the team in front of hoards of excited Sabres fans. There’s also Kailer Yamamoto and Josh Norris, first-round picks of the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks in 2017, and Logan Brown, the 11th overall pick by the Ottawa Senators from the American-heavy 2016 draft. 

Another interesting thing to watch from the Americans this year is future draft eligible players. On last year’s team, Oettinger was the only 2017 draft-eligible player on the roster. Otherwise, it was a team loaded with 19- and 20-year-olds who had already been drafted. This year, the United States is poised to be well-represented at the top of the draft yet again, and 18-year-olds Brady Tkachuk and Quinton Hughes could crack a spot on the American roster. 

Regardless, it’ll be a new-look American team from the one that captured gold from Canada’s grasp last year in Montreal. Every other time that the United States has retuned home following a gold medal win, the team has failed to live up to the hype. Could this be the year that changes? They have the talent available and it would certainly be the escalation point on the American golden age of hockey if they could. 

Jake Oettinger, Boston University (NCAA)
Joseph Woll, Boston College (NCAA)
Jeremy Swayman, University of Maine (NCAA)

Michael Anderson, University of Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)
Adam Fox, Harvard University (NCAA)
Quinn Hughes, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Cole Hults, Penn State University (NCAA)
Philip Kemp, Yale University (NCAA)
Ryan Lindgren, University of Minnesota (NCAA)
Andrew Peeke, University of Notre Dame (NCAA)
Scott Perunovich, University of Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)
Dylan Samberg, University of Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)
Reilly Walsh, Harvard University (NCAA)

Joseph Anderson, University of Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)
Jack Badini, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Kieffer Bellows, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Trent Fredric. University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Patrick Harper, Boston University (NCAA)
Max Jones, London Knights (OHL)
William Lockwood, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Hugh McGing, Western Michigan University (NCAA)
Casey Mittelstadt, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Joshua Norris, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State University (NCAA)
Brady Tkachuk, U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL)
Riley Tufte, University of Minnesota Duluth (NCAA)
Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

* 28 players were selected for the preliminary roster. 23 of those will participate in the 2018 WJC. The last cuts will be made before the tournament starts on December 26th.

Cam Lewis – @cooom

08 January, 2018

The WJC summed up in seven thoughts

Rasmus Dahlin lived up to the hype: Since last June?s NHL draft, Rasmus Dahlin has been the face of 2018. For non-playoff teams in the NHL this season, Dahlin i...

08 January, 2018

The future of Avalanche blueline resides in Canada

Cale Makar. Conor Timmins. Samuel Girard. If you are a hockey fan, chances are you?ve heard one or more of these names mentioned at least once. Perhaps ahead of...

06 January, 2018

Gold medal recap: Canada wins gold at WJC in Buffalo

USA 9, Czech Republic 3 Though Czech Republic was looking to win their first medal since the 2005 tournament, the host Americans were ultimately too much to ask...

05 January, 2018

WJC Semifinals Recap – Sweden, Canada advance to gold medal game

Sweden 4, USA 2 While the host Americans would have liked to win the gold medal for their home fans, Sweden commandingly earned a berth in the championship game...

03 January, 2018

WJC Quarterfinals Recap: The Czechs upset Finland – Canada cruises to semifinals

Czech Republic 4, Finland 3 The first quarterfinal game on Day 8 was arguably the best of the bunch. The Czechs battled back from two different one-goal deficit...

02 January, 2018

WJC 2018 Quarterfinal Preview – here are the match-ups

Czech Republic vs. Finland The opening game of the quarterfinal round pits together two teams both looking at an uphill battle to come out of the tournament wit...

01 January, 2018

Casey Mittelstadt clear MVP through group stage; 2018 draft-eligibles shine

 It?s a difficult time to be a Buffalo Sabres fan. The team currently sits dead last in the NHL?s Eastern Conference and are on their way to missing the playoff...

01 January, 2018

Recap of Day 6: Sweden tops Group B, USA pulls out late win against Finland

 Czech Republic 6, Switzerland 3 Despite being outshot 60-30 in this one, Switzerland kept the game competitive well into the third period. After falling behind...

31 December, 2017

Kurashev leading second wave of talented Swiss prospects

When Nico Hischiers name was called first in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he became the first Swiss player to ever be drafted first overall. In fact, in the last t...

31 December, 2017

Recap of Day 5: Canada tops out in Group A – Sweden takes third straight win

Czech Republic 6, Belarus 5 In arguably the tournament?s most back-and-forth game, Czech Republic managed their second victory of the tournament. Belarus scored...

29 December, 2017

The call him “The Hunter” – meet the Caps’ rising prospect

He will never be mistaken for an offensive superstar, but Axel Jonsson Fjällby has attributes that appeal to the masses. Selected 147th overall by the Washingto...

29 December, 2017

Recap of Day 3: Slovakia upsets United States, Finland dominates Denmark 

Finland 4, Denmark 1 This game?s score was a lot more flattering than it could have been. The Finns dominated Denmark all game, peppering 62 shots on goal while...

28 December, 2017

Recap of Day 2 – Canada pushes past Slovakia to remain perfect

Canada 6, Slovakia 0 While it wasn?t set to be a rout from the opening faceoff, there was never much doubt as to who was going to win this game. Canada hopped o...

27 December, 2017

Will Czech Republic’s Necas and Chytil continue to produce their magic?

Czech Republic has never been a small fry on the international hockey stage. Consistently producing NHL stars such Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and David Pastrnak...

27 December, 2017

Recap of Day 1 – Czechs confirm dark horse status with win over Russia

Czech Republic 5, Russia 4 This was certainly the story of the day. The Czech Republic entered the tournament as the dark horse. They have a bevy of skill we ha...

26 December, 2017

Russia looks to extend WJC streak with largely unknown squad 

There has been nobody more consistent at the World Juniors than Russia. They?ve medalled in each of the past seven tournaments, and only four times since they s...

26 December, 2017

Rasmus Dahlin highlights Swedish squad looking to end medal drought 

For the last three tournaments, Sweden has gone undefeated in the group stage only to come up short come playoff time. They haven?t won a medal since losing to ...

26 December, 2017

Talented Finnish team eager to make amends after last year’s fiasco

After a disastrous showing in the 2017 WJC group stage that resulted in a mass firing of the coaching staff, Finland?s U-20 team is back for World Juniors (bare...

26 December, 2017

Who belongs where? – The WJC players and the NHL teams they are drafted by

The World Juniors give the future stars a chance to show what they’re made of. Many of these players will make an impact in the NHL, maybe as soon as next...

25 December, 2017

Too good for the World Juniors – here are the players you’ll miss in Buffalo

As usual, the World Juniors will be played without the best junior players in the world. They are already suiting up and making a difference in the NHL. Last ye...

25 December, 2017

WJC Countdown: Zibanejad ends Sweden’s gold drought in OT

The gold medal game of Sweden-Russia at the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship was full of talking points and the possibility of being a high-octane, back-an...

24 December, 2017

United States send roster loaded with offensive talent to Buffalo

The United States enters the 2018 World Juniors as the defending champions after a thrilling shootout win over Canada in last year?s tournament. The Americans a...

24 December, 2017

WJC Countdown: Chubarov nets twice in 1999 final

Hosted in Winnipeg as well as five other communities around Manitoba, the 1999 World Juniors was, in many ways, the last of its kind. Playing games in Brandon, ...

23 December, 2017

WJC Countdown: David Aebischer leads Switzerland to first-ever World Juniors medal 

Since the mid-1990s, Switzerland has been a mainstay at the World Juniors.  They?re generally playing to stay in the top division, fighting off regulation rathe...

23 December, 2017

The curious case of Sean Day

Only three players had ever been granted ?exceptional status? by the Canadian Hockey League back in 2013: John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid. The ter...

22 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Peter Forsberg sets tournament record with whopping 31 points 
22 December, 2017Revolutionizing the game of hockey: who will be next?
21 December, 2017WJC Countdown: The NHL lockout allowed Canada to ice a historically-good team in 2005
21 December, 2017Back in the spotlight
21 December, 2017Russia’s Svechnikov fighting for roster spot, high draft position
20 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Kapanen’s heroics etch his name in Finnish history
20 December, 2017Predicting the top scorer for the 2018 World Junior Championships
19 December, 2017European free agents providing value for NHL clubs
19 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Kazakhstan upsets Canada in front of tiny crowd
18 December, 2017WJC Countdown: United States wins first-ever gold medal after bizarre own-goal
18 December, 2017The five WJC defenders most likely to be on an NHL roster this fall
17 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Russia snaps gold medal drought in 2011 with three ridiculous comebacks
17 December, 2017Canada leaves skill at home in favour of balanced team
17 December, 2017CHL talent has history of producing gems on American roster
16 December, 2017The matter of talent development in Sweden
16 December, 2017WJC Countdown: Tavares’ MVP showing and Eberle’s clutch goal lead Canada to fifth-straight gold
15 December, 2017Makar looking to join rare group of Canadian NCAA stars
15 December, 2017A beginner’s guide to the CHL
14 December, 2017Cool as a cucumber – Rasmus Dahlin ready to embrace the pressure of the WJC
14 December, 2017Is Canada leaving too much skill at home?
14 December, 2017Is Flyers’ prospect Hart a lock for the Canadian starter’s job?
14 December, 2017Edmonton Oilers give Kailer Yamamoto the chance to shine at the WJC
13 December, 2017The Olympic Kids – prospects that starred on the big stage
13 December, 2017Can any of the WJC underdogs break through in Buffalo?  
12 December, 2017A Russian trend – three forwards headed for the first round?
12 December, 2017Deep Russian squad looks to extend medal streak 
11 December, 2017The 2018 WJC underdog that could win it all
11 December, 2017The World Junior Championships – an audition for the Olympics
10 December, 2017Sweden’s elite talent looks to end cycle of WJC mediocrity
10 December, 2017Lukas Vejdemo – taking the patient route to the NHL
09 December, 2017Nicklas Lidström on Rasmus Dahlin: “He looks like Brian Leetch”
09 December, 2017Where are they now? – Three forgotten WJC stars
08 December, 2017Breaking down Team Canada’s roster snubs
08 December, 2017Finland on the rebound after disastrous showing at last year’s WJC 
07 December, 2017Away from the spotlight
07 December, 2017Why Adam Boqvist wasn’t picked for the Swedish WJC camp
07 December, 2017Sabres faithful may get chance to see Mittelstadt shine
06 December, 2017Aleksi Heponiemi – Poised for success
06 December, 2017The hunt for the next Erik Karlsson
05 December, 2017Canada no longer dominates the WJC like they used to 
05 December, 2017Redefining the modern defenseman
05 December, 2017What the Swedish WJC team should look like