LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The USA Hockey staff charged with picking the team that will go to Sweden for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship spent this week seeing which players fit into the best roles not only on the ice, but off it as well.
That includes early assessments of who could provide leadership, and among the early candidates for team captain is defenseman Patrick Sieloff.
Sieloff, one of three players from the 2013 WJC team that won the gold medal back for this year's camp (forward Riley Barber and goaltender Jon Gillies are the others), never made it onto the score sheet, but he was the team's most physical defenseman and one of the key parts of a penalty-killing unit that got better as the week went on, culminating in a perfect 9-for-9 performance in a 5-1 win against Canada on Saturday.
Sieloff, a 2012 second-round pick (No. 42) of the Calgary Flames, said he hasn't thought far enough ahead yet to consider himself captain of a team he still hasn't made yet.
"At the end of the day I'm here first to make the team and then just do whatever they ask me to do," Sieloff told NHL.com. "If it comes down to [being captain], than absolutely. I'm here to play my game and see how it plays out."
USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations Jim Johansson, who will serve as general manager of the WJC team, said Sieloff filled a leadership role this week at the national junior evaluation camp.
"He has great leadership qualities," Johansson said. "He's a guy that you end up talking more and more to about getting messages through to his teammates. He does it on and off the ice. He's a guy that we will look for for leadership. … Sitting here today, he's a candidate to fill that role and be a guy that helps lead this team."
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