Barber, Sieloff return for possible WJC title defense

Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 12:00 PM
Mike G. Morreale  - Staff Writer

Forward Riley Barber and defenseman Patrick Sieloff head a list of 40 skaters invited to participate in the United States National Junior Evaluation Camp, which will take place Aug. 3-10 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The invitees will be auditioning for spots on the U.S. team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held in Malmo, Sweden, from Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014. The United States is the defending champion, having beaten Sweden for the gold medal in January in Ufa, Russia. It was the third medal in four tournaments for the U.S., including a gold medal in 2010 in Saskatoon and a bronze in Buffalo in 2011.

The camp, which will be held at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, will include practices and exhibition games against Canada, Finland and Sweden. Games will be played in the Herb Brooks Arena.

According to USA Hockey, a goalie evaluation camp to be held in Ann Arbor, Mich., from June 9-11 will determine which keepers will be invited to Lake Placid. The goalie invitees will be announced later this month.

Barber and Sieloff are the only returnees from last year's gold medalists. Barber, a right wing picked in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals, had three goals and three assists in seven games. Sieloff, a defenseman selected by the Calgary Flames in the second round of last year's draft, had one assist and two penalty minutes in six games.

Eight other players receiving invitations took part in last year's camp, and 23 have won medals in championship tournaments.

Additionally, 22 players are eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, to be held June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and three players are first-round draft picks -- forwards Stefan Matteau (New Jersey Devils, 2012) and Henrik Samuelsson (Phoenix Coyotes, 2012), and defenseman Brady Skjei (New York Rangers, 2012).

The roster has one player -- defenseman Anthony DeAngelo of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting -- eligible for the 2014 draft.

There are 11 players on the roster, all eligible for this year's draft, who played a part in a silver medal-winning performance at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia. Among the forwards is John Hayden of the United States National Team Development Program, No. 29 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters. He is joined by J.T. Compher (No. 34), Michael McCarron (35), Hudson Fasching (70) and Tyler Motte (84). On defense there's Thomas Vannelli (44), Steven Santini (47), Keaton Thompson (53), Will Butcher (87), Connor Clifton (88) and Gage Ausmus (148).

Vannelli spent much of the 2012-13 season with Minnetonka (Minn.) High School before earning some time with the USNTDP. He was a finalist for the 2013 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award and jumped 33 spots from his midseason ranking to No. 44 on NHL Central Scouting's final list. He finished the season with 10 goals, 35 points and a plus-23 rating in 27 games for Minnetonka. He'll attend the University of Minnesota in the fall.

The 2014 U.S. National Junior Team, which will be coached by University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia, will be selected following a pre-tournament camp to be held Dec. 15-18 in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Follow Mike G. Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL

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