Thursday, January 08, 2009

2010 US World Junior Team

Nate Fournier over at The World of Junior Hockey had an interesting post on next year's US World Junior team.

Even though this week, everyone seems more obsessed with re-picking this year's World Junior team, I figured I'd take my own stab at what next year's team will look like.

Mike Lee and Brandon Maxwell are pretty much gimmes(unless of course one of them struggles in the tournament, in which case, everyone will have totally known they should have picked someone else). Thank goodness you only need two goalies. If one of those guys was injured, who would be the next choice? Joe Cannata? Kevin Murdock? Adam Murray? Decent choices, but nothing that blows you away.

Zach Bogosian will still be eligible to play, but almost definitely won't be available. John Carlson has already signed a contract with the Washington Capitals, so his availability will likely depend on if he makes it past the 10-game cutoff in the NHL.

After those two, I think Cam Fowler is the next obvious choice. Like Jordan Schroeder this year, he'll be jockeying for a shot in the top 10, possibly top 5 of the NHL Draft with this tournament.

Aaron Ness and Jake Gardiner are going to be tough calls in my opinion because they're very good, but also very raw. Ness only had six assists in the first half of this year, but Don Lucia predicted he would take off in the second half of the season, and lo and behold, he scored his first goal, and added two assists last weekend, so he may just take off from there. Each will have a year and a half of college experience by that point, which is more than some of the other candidates, so I'd give them each a spot on the team.

Same goes for David Warsofsky of Boston University. He's got international experience and has played fairly well at the college level so far.

My next pick would be one of either Max Nicastro or Matt Donovan, or Sam Lofquist. All three are good skaters that can bring a little bit of everything to the mix. I'd imagine USA Hockey would lean towards Lofquist since he's got more experience both internationally and in college.

Next, I'd go with either John Moore or Nick Leddy. Both are excellent skaters that should make for very high draft picks this year. I wouldn't be surprised if Leddy was added to the US roster for the U18s this summer, and a good showing there may give USA Hockey more confidence in him.

That makes seven defensemen, if you count Carlson. If Carlson isn't available, I'd look for somebody that offered a little size and physicality to go along with a mostly finesse bunch, like a Collin Bowman.


Things will obviously start at the top with Jordan Schroeder. There's a very outside chance of someone drafting him really high, signing him, and him not being available next year. He might be good enough to handle it skill-wise, but I think he'll stick around for one more season at Minnesota.

You'd have to believe that Mitch Wahl, Tyler Johnson, and Danny Kristo will all be back after playing on the team this year.

I like the idea of giving Schroeder two skilled finishers in Jeremy Morin and Phil McRae to work with.

Joining Morin off of this year's U18 team, I'd take Kyle Palmieri, who was invited to the tryout camp for this year's World Juniors, and Drew Shore.

David Wohlberg and Derek Stepan have both had outstanding freshman seasons, and should be locks to make the team. Wohlberg is especially valuable since he's excellent defensively as well.

That would make 10 forwards. USA Hockey has shown in the past that they like to choose more defensive-minded players for those last couple rosters rather than guys with a lot of flash. Justin Florek is a big guy that is starting to put things together at Northern Michigan, and he might be a nice choice. A.J. Jenks is another big player that could play a nice role as a center on a lower line. That just leaves the 13th roster spot. Chris Brown would be another great energy player. USA Hockey may go with an NTDP veteran that some aren't as familiar with, like Colin Moore, similar to when they took Jimmy Fraser a couple years ago, or if they wanted to really young, they could take a strong two-way player off the U18 team like Jason Zucker.

Overall, it probably won't be the strongest US team. Like most years, they should be in contention for a medal, and if they get hot goaltending at the right time, or a couple bounces go their way, who knows what could happen.


Anonymous said...

Ill go with...

Brandon Maxwell
Mike Lee

John Carlson
Adam Comrie
Cam Fowler
Jake Gardiner
Collin Bowman
Beau Schmitz
Aaron Ness or David Warsofsky

Jordan Schroeder
Mitch Wahl
Tyler Johnson
Danny Kristo
Phil McRae
David Wohlberg
Derek Stepan
AJ Jenks
Jeremy Morin
Kyle Palmieri
Drew Shore
Andrew Yogan
Ryan Bourque or Chris Brown

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that they love to take Gophers. Sure you mentioned Schroeder, Lofquist & Leddy, but what about Budish, Birkholz, and Condon?

I think Mullane out of the USHL will get a look. Mattson and Hanowski out of Minnesota will both have some college experience by then.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the weakest team that the U.S. will put forward since the mid 90's. No way does the U.S. even come close to a medal next year.

Anonymous said...

No way in hell does Condom or Birkholz make the team.

Anonymous said...

iit seems like a lot of name dropping right now. you pick the biggest name possible and assume they are the best possible canidate. it shouldn't be that way and it probably won't end up being that way.

Anonymous said...

7:13 is right. Util the system is fixed the end result will remain "broken"

Anonymous said...

Kevin Murdock is as good a US goalie I have scene. Very composed and will contiune to improve. He and Lee would at least give them a chance to compete against the GOOD teams.

Anonymous said...

Would Lee be taken if he's still in the USHL next year because that is a possibility

Anonymous said...

Ease up there 7:41. The guy wants to discuss next years team. Whats wrong with that?
Perhaps you may be happier with a different blog, one where there is no discussion.=)

Chuck Schwartz said...

Yes, Lee will be taken regardless of where he's playing. He's the best goaltender in that age group bar-none imho.

Anonymous said...

"You forgot to mention that they love to take Gophers."

I now know why they've been so crappy the last few years!!!!
It's not a coincidence that the last team that won the gold had 0 Gopher players on the team. If I remember correcty there were quite a few Sioux and Badger players on that team.

Anonymous said...

what about the USA goalies, all the top ones listed seem to be USHL. Murdock and Lee

Anonymous said...

Are you talking about the last American team to win or the last team to win? Because I don't think the Siouxage had any players taken by the Canadians and the Paint-thinner drinkers only had Golubef taken this year. I didn't hear his name very much.

I guess being from Dakota or Sconnie you're used to rooting for Canadians. Where would your teams be without them?

Anonymous said...

There must be two Sam Lofquists because the Sam Lofquist from the Gophers looks scared out of his mind in college hockey this year, he has a hard time handling the showcase over christmas... Im sure those canadian boys would love to see him make the team.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter who's on the team next year. It's high time that USA Hockey gets this team out of the cowsh** and onto the road. Furthermore, I don't want to hear anyone saying "well, next year's team isn't as talented as before blah, blah, blah....." The American junior teams in the past, as talented as they were, lost to some inferior teams, so talent is a lot of bull***.

Anonymous said...

"re you talking about the last American team to win or the last team to win?"

I'm talking about the 2004 US team that won the gold. It's called reading between the lines.

Let's see.....

Head Coach-Mike Eaves
+ 3 Sioux players
+ 3 Badger players
+ 0 Gopher players
=Gold Medal


Anonymous said...

This article hits the head right on the nail.