As expected, Casey Mittelstadt, the Buffalo Sabres top draft choice in 2017, made the preliminary roster for the United States for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Men's Championship.
USA Hockey announced the 28 players on the preliminary roster Tuesday night. Twenty-three will make the final roster and represent the U.S. later this month in Buffalo.
Mittelstadt is tied for third in the NCAA in freshman scoring with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 17 games for Minnesota. He impressed the coaching and management staff this summer at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich.
But five players who made the preliminary roster were not part of Team USA's summer camp.
"Is that number a little high? It probably is, but there's also a reason we bring some guys to summer camp and reasons we don't," Team USA general manager Jim Johannson said. "In the end, it just proves the point that it is all part of a big process. These five had a strong enough fall to get on the final camp roster."
They include forward Hugh McGing, a draft eligible sophomore at Western Michigan who has four goals and 13 assists in 17 games this season.
Also playing their way to a camp invitation were defensemen Cole Hults (Penn State, LA Kings fifth-round pick in 2017), Scott Perunovich (Minneosta-Duluth, 2018 draft eligible), and Reilly Walsh (Harvard, New Jersey Devils third-round pick in 2017) along with goalie Jeremy Swayman (Maine, Boston Bruins fourth-round pick in 2017).
Their fall seasons were impressive and the U.S. coaching staff was watching. A lot.
"The bottom line is we had a deep pool of players. I think the compliment is we saw a lot of guys who can possibly help us with this tournament," Johannson said. "We didn't want to leave any stone unturned so to speak. We were watching a larger pool of players than we normally do and we feel like this is a strong, deep group."
The preliminary roster includes:
Forwards (15): Joey Anderson, Jack Badini, Keiffer Bellows, Logan Brown, Trent Frederic, Patrick Harper, Max Jones, Will Lockwood, McGing, Mittelstadt, Josh Norris, Ryan Poehling, Brady Tkachuk, Riley Tufte, and Kailer Yamamoto.
Defensemen (10): Mikey Anderson, Adam Fox, Quinn Hughes, Hults, Phil Kempp, Ryan Lindgren, Perunovich, Andrew Peeke, Dylan Samberg, and Walsh.
Goaltenders (3) : Jake Oettinger, Swayman, and Joseph Woll.
The pre-tournament camp for Team USA runs from Dec. 15-19 in Columbus, Ohio. The U.S. then has two pre-tournament games, playing Belarus at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at Northwest Arena in Jamestown and Sweden at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 in Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa.
The U.S. will defend its gold medal on home soil, opening play at 8 p.m. Dec. 26 against Denmark in KeyBank Center. The U.S. also plays Slovakia (8 p.m., Dec. 28, KeyBank Center) and Finland (4 p.m., Dec. 31, KeyBank Center) with the money preliminary round game against Canada Dec. 29 at 3 p.m. at New Era Field in the first outdoor game of the IIHF Tournament.
Story topics: Casey Mittelstadt