USA Hockey named its roster for the 2012 World Junior Championships today, and here it is:
Goalies: Jack Campbell, John Gibson
Defense: Derek Forbort, Kevin Gravel, Stephen Johns, Jon Merrill, Jarred Tinordi, Jacob Trouba
Forwards: Josh Archibald, Bill Arnold, Nick Bjugstad, Connor Brickley, Charlie Coyle, Austin Czarnik, Emerson Etem, J.T. Miller, Kyle Rau, Brandon Saad, T.J. Tynan, Austin Watson, Jason Zucker.
The first thing that jumps out at me is the overall age of the roster: only Trouba, Gibson and Miller will be eligible to play for the US next season. Second is the size/speed of the team: I don’t see a lot of guys who are true possession type guys, especially at forward, but they’ll hopefully be able to counteract that a bit by hurting teams in transition with some odd man rushes.
Blais is going to get criticized a bit for taking Josh Archibald, and maybe he should, but he’s seen him play more than the rest of the players and I’d rather have a decision made on how a player has played over the course of this season vs. how they played in the week or so long camp.
No surprises on the defense, as Blais and company’s job was made easier by the Hurricanes not releasing Justin Faulk and Seth Jones getting hurt. That opened the door for Johns and Gavel to make the team. The defensemen are huge, with only Adam Clendening standing under 6’2″, and the bigger guys on the team all have a ton of mobility. It is worrisome, however, that the best all around defenseman (and perhaps player) on the team is a player, Jon Merrill, who hasn’t played in a real hockey game all year.
Up front the only thing that really surprised me was Austin Czarnik making it over Brian Ferlin. The coaches have certainly seen them more so I won’t argue, just noting that Ferlin was more impressive in my viewings of them. I also would have thought about Gaudreau because he is eligible next season. Still, I was pretty surprised at some of the forward selections two years ago and that seemed to work out OK.
The World Junior Championship begins in four days, and I’ll be sure to have some player by player scouting reports and some predictions up in that time.