Looking to get back into the medals after a one-year hiatus, USA Hockey named its preliminary roster for the 2013 World Junior tournament on Tuesday — a roster built largely on this year’s draft class and one key prospect for next year.
The list is highlighted by Alex Galchenyuk — taken third overall by Montreal in 2012 — and Seth Jones, the WHL Portland defenseman widely regarded to be the best blueliner in the 2013 draft class and an odds-on favorites to go first overall.
The new-look Team USA will return just three players from the side that finished a disappointing seventh in last year’s tournament. Goalie John Gibson, defenseman Jacob Trouba and forward J.T. Miller will be the returnees, with the strength of the camp roster coming from the 2012 NHL draft, where 11 of the first 50 picks were American players.
Among the notable ’12 draftees headed to Tarrytown, NY, from Dec. 16-18:
— Galchenyuk (Montreal, first round, 3rd overall)
— Trouba (Winnipeg, first round, 9th overall)
— Brady Skjei (New York Rangers, first round, 28th overall)
— Stefan Matteau (New Jersey Devils, first round, 29th overall)
— Patrick Sieloff (Calgary, second round, 42nd overall)
— Jake McCabe (Buffalo, second round, 44th overall)
The other big change for USA Hockey comes behind the bench, where Phil Housley takes over for Dean Blais. It’s an intriguing transition to say the least — under Blais, the team enjoyed a tremendous amount of success by winning gold in 2010 (America’s second tournament win ever) and bronze in 2011.
That said, Blais was also at the helm for last year’s disastrous finish, which saw the U.S. dropped to the relegation round for the first time since 1999.