Hanifin, 20, is coming off his sophomore campaign in Carolina and will be making his second straight appearance at the worlds. Taken fifth overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the former Boston College standout scored 29 points in 81 games this season but, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted recently, might actually be on the shopping block due to Carolina’s surplus of talent on defense.
Keller, 18, just wrapped a tremendous year in which he starred at Boston University — scoring 45 points in 31 games — helped the U.S. capture gold at the world juniors, and made his NHL debut for the Coyotes. Taken seventh overall at the ’16 draft, Keller is regarded as a star in the making, and should be fun to watch (again) on the international stage.
As mentioned above, USA Hockey has undergone a youth movement for this tournament. In addition to Keller and Hanifin, the roster also includes Dylan Larkin (20), Christian Dvorak (21), J.T. Compher (22) and Keller’s former Boston University teammate, 20-year-old Jordan Greenway (a Minnesota Wild prospect.)