USA Hockey unveils initial roster to defend World Junior Championship gold

As reigning gold medalists, the United States already carries high expectations into this year’s IIHF Under-20 World Hockey Championship, better known as the World Junior Championship. But defending the title on home ice comes with an added pressure.

USA Hockey on Tuesday released its 28-player preliminary roster for the return to U.S. soil of the world’s premier under-20 hockey tournament, played Dec. 26-Jan. 6 in Buffalo, N.Y.

MORE: Introducing Quinn Hughes, the NHL’s next hot American defense prospect

In 2011, the last time the event was staged in the U.S., the Americans settled for bronze. They’ve captured a pair of gold medals since (2013, 2017) and a bronze (2016) since then, sprinkled around medal-less disappointments. But the talent level on this year’s roster, including seven holdovers from 2017, has Team USA well positioned for medal contention. 

Among them are first-round NHL draft picks Logan Brown (11th overall, 2016), Kieffer Bellows (19th overall, 2016), Casey Mittelstadt (eighth overall, 2017), Kailer Yamamoto (22nd overall, 2017) and Jake Oettinger (26th overall, 2017). Also in the group are 2018 draft eligibles Brady Tkachuk and Quinn Hughes, both projected as high first-round picks.

The group is auditioning for a spot on the final 23-man roster, which will be finalized Dec. 23. 

The complete roster is listed below.

Forwards

Joey Anderson (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth)
Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Portland Winterhawks)
Patrick Harper (New Canaan, Conn./Boston University)
Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University)
Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich./University of Michigan)
Ryan Poehling (Lakeville, Minn./St. Cloud State University)
Logan Brown (St. Louis, Mo./Windsor Spitfires)
Trent Frederic (St. Louis, Mo./University of Wisconsin)
Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./University of Minnesota)
Will Lockwood (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./University of Michigan)
Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash./Spokane Chiefs)
Jack Badini (Old Greenwich, Conn./Chicago Steel)
Patrick Harper (New Canaan, Conn./Boston University)
Max Jones (Rochester, Mich./London Knights)
Hugh McGing (Chicago, Ill./Western Michigan University)
Riley Tufte (Ham Lake, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth

Defensemen

Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y./Harvard University)
Ryan Lindgren (Minneapolis, Minn./University of Minnesota)
Quinn Hughes (Orlando, Fla./University of Michigan)
Phil Kemp (Greenwich, Conn./Yale University)
Mikey Anderson​ (Roseville, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth)
Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis./Penn State University)
Andrew Peeke (Parkland, Fla./University of Notre Dame)
Scott Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth)
Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn./ University of Minnesota Duluth)
Reilly Walsh (North Falmouth, Mass./Harvard University)

Goalies

Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn./Boston University)
Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo./Boston College)
Jeremy Swayman (Anchorage, Alaska/University of Maine)

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