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Draft-eligible players highlight USA Hockey junior evaluation camp invitee list

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Five of the top 10 players in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking for the 2016 NHL Draft were among the 42 players invited to the 2016 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

The camp will be held at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., from July 30 to Aug. 7, and will include games against Finland, Sweden and Canada.

It's the first step in picking the team that will play for the U.S. at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held in Toronto and Montreal from Dec. 26, 2016 to Jan. 5, 2017.

Matthew Tkachuk, the No. 2 player on Central Scouting's final list, is one of five players returning from the 2016 WJC, when the U.S. won the bronze medal in Helsinki, Finland. Tkachuk, a 6-foot-1, 202-pound left wing, tied for the U.S. lead with 11 points in seven games. Playing with London of the Ontario Hockey League this season, he was fifth in the league with 107 points, led the OHL playoffs with 20 goals in 18 games, and had five goals in four games to help London win the Memorial Cup, including the overtime goal in the championship game.

Other top prospects invited to the camp are Boston University defenceman Charles McAvoy (No. 6 on Central Scouting's list), who had a plus-5 rating in seven games at the 2016 WJC; center Logan Brown from Windsor of the OHL (No. 7); and forwards Clayton Keller (No. 9) and Kieffer Bellows (No. 10) of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team.

Five other players in Central Scouting's top 30 were invited to the camp, including forward Alexander DeBrincat of Erie of the OHL, who had one goal in five games at the 2016 WJC.

Auston Matthews, a native of Scottsdale, Ariz., was not invited to the camp after leading the U.S. with seven goals and tying Tkachuk for the team lead with 11 points at the 2016 WJC. He is expected to be the first player picked at the 2016 draft but remains eligible to play in the 2017 WJC if allowed by the NHL team that selects him. Matthews is Central Scouting's top-rated international skater after playing this season for Zurich in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league.

Two other players not invited to the camp but still eligible for the tournament are Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Noah Hanifin and Columbus Blue Jackets defence prospect Zachary Werenski.

Two players picked in the first round of the 2015 draft were invited to the camp. Forward Brock Boeser, selected by the Vancouver Canucks with the 15th pick, also played in the 2016 WJC. Also attending will be forward Jack Roslovic, taken at No. 25 by the Winnipeg Jets.

Three players eligible for the 2017 draft also were invited, all of whom helped the U.S win the bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship: forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Casey Mittelstadt, and defenceman Luke Martin.

Yamamoto, a 5-7, 147-pound right wing, had 71 points in 57 games with Spokane of the Western Hockey League, and tied for the World U-18 lead with seven goals in seven games.

Mittelstadt, a 5-11, 192-pound center, had 22 goals and 59 points in 25 games as a junior at Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota.

Martin (6-2, 207 pounds), had four goals and 20 points in 63 games with the NTDP under-18 team, and four assists in seven games at the World U-18. He's committed to the University of Michigan next season.

Bob Motzko, the coach at St. Cloud State University, will coach the U.S., with Boston College associate coach Greg Brown, Providence College assistant Kris Mayotte, Air Force director of hockey operations Steve Miller and University of Minnesota assistant Grant Potulny serving as assistants. In addition, retired NHL player Mike Knuble and former Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston will serve as guest coaches during the camp.

USA HOCKEY SUMMER EVALUATION CAMP ROSTER

GOALIES: Jake Oettinger, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Tyler Parson, London, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Evan Sarthou, Tri-City, WHL (2016 draft eligible); Joseph Woll, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible)

DEFENCEMEN: Jack Ahcan, Cedar Rapids, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Nicholas Boka, Michigan, BIG10 (Minnesota Wild); Joseph Cecconi, Michigan, BIG10 (Dallas Stars); Sean Day, Mississauga, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Casey Fitzgerald, Boston College, H-EAST (2016 draft eligible); Adam Fox, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); James Greenway, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Caleb Jones, Portland, WHL (Edmonton Oilers); Chad Krys, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Ryan Lindgren, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Luke Martin, USA U-18, USHL (2017 draft eligible); Joseph Masonius, Connecticut, H-EAST (2016 draft eligible); Charles McAvoy, Boston University, H-EAST (2016 draft eligible); Jack Sadek, Minnesota, BIG10 (Minnesota Wild)

FORWARDS: Joseph Anderson, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Kieffer Bellows, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Brock Boeser, North Dakota, NCHC (Vancouver Canucks); Jeremy Bracco, Kitchener, OHL (Toronto Maple Leafs); Logan Brown, Windsor, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Alexander DeBrincat, Erie, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Christian Fischer, Windsor, OHL (Arizona Coyotes); Erik Foley, Providence, H-EAST (Winnipeg Jets); Trent Frederic, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Jordan Greenway, Boston University, H-EAST (Minnesota Wild); Max Jones, London, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Clayton Keller, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Luke Kunin, Wisconsin, BIG10 (2016 draft eligible); Tanner Laczynski, Lincoln, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie, HIGH-MN (2017 draft eligible); Thomas Novak, Minnesota, BIG10 (Nashville Predators); Rem Pitlick, Muskegon, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Jack Roslovic, Miami, NCHC (Winnipeg Jets); Troy Terry, Denver, NCHC (Anaheim Ducks); Tage Thompson, Connecticut, H-EAST (2016 draft eligible); Matthew Tkachuk, London, OHL (2016 draft eligible); Riley Tufte, Blaine, HIGH-MN (2016 draft eligible); Brendan Warren, Michigan, BIG10 (2016 draft eligible); Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane, WHL (2017 draft eligible)

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