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U.S. boasts six first-round picks on WJC camp roster

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

A six-pack of first-round NHL draft picks, seven returning players and five top 2015 NHL Draft-eligible prospects highlight the list of 30 players invited by USA Hockey to a selection camp to determine the U.S. National Junior Team that will play at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada later this month.

The selection camp will take place Dec. 16-19 on the campus of Boston University at Walter Brown Arena. It will include five practices as well as a pre-tournament exhibition game against Boston University at Walter Brown Arena on Dec. 19. When training in Boston is complete, the team will travel to Kingston, Ontario, to continue the evaluation process at Rogers K-Rock Centre from Dec. 21-24.

USA National Junior Camp Roster

GOALIES: *Thatcher Demko, Boston College, H-EAST (Vancouver Canucks); Brandon Halverson, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (New York Rangers); Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes)

DEFENSEMEN: *Will Butcher, University of Denver, NCHC (Colorado Avalanche); Brandon Carlo, Tri-City, WHL (2015 eligible); Ryan Collins, University of Minnesota, BIG 10 (Colorado Avalanche); Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia Sting, OHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Jack Dougherty, University of Wisconsin, BIG 10 (Nashville Predators); Michael Downing, University of Michigan, BIG 10 (Florida Panthers); Noah Hanifin, Boston College, H-EAST (2015 draft eligible); *Ian McCoshen, Boston College, H-EAST (Florida Panthers); *Steven Santini, Boston College, H-EAST (New Jersey Devils); Zach Werenski, University of Michigan, BIG 10 (2015 draft eligible)

FORWARDS: Jeremy Bracco, USA U-18, USHL (2015 draft eligible); J.T. Compher, University of Michigan, BIG 10 (Buffalo Sabres); Cole Cassels, Oshawa, OHL (Vancouver Canucks); Chase De Leo, Portland, WHL (Winnipeg Jets); *Jack Eichel, Boston University, H-EAST (2015 draft eligible); *Adam Erne, Quebec, QMJHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Hudson Fasching, University of Minnesota, BIG 10 (Buffalo Sabres); John Hayden, Yale University, ECAC (Chicago Blackhawks); Dylan Larkin, University of Michigan, BIG 10 (Detroit Red Wings); Anthony Louis, Miami University, NCHC (Chicago Blackhawks); Auston Matthews, USA U-18, USHL (2016 draft eligible); Michael McCarron, London, OHL (Montreal Canadiens); Sonny Milano, Plymouth, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Tyler Motte, University of Michigan, BIG 10 (Chicago Blackhawks); Nick Schmaltz, University of North Dakota, NCHC (Chicago Blackhawks); Alex Tuch, Boston College, H-EAST (Minnesota Wild); Miles Wood, Noble & Greenough School, HS-MA (New Jersey Devils)

*- Returning player

The final 23-player tournament roster will be announced by Dec. 24.

U.S. coach Mark Osiecki will oversee a camp that includes 17 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goalies. There are 12 states and 15 NHL teams represented on the roster.

"We're excited about the group of players that we're bringing to our camp in Boston," U.S. National Junior Team general manager Jim Johannson said. "The depth of our talent pool continues to make our job more difficult in getting to a camp roster and ultimately the final roster, and that's really a credit to the great job done at the grassroots level by coaches all across the country."

Returning from last year's team which finished fifth at the 2014 WJC in Sweden are goaltender Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks), defensemen Ian McCoshen (Florida Panthers), Will Butcher (Colorado Avalanche) and Steven Santini (New Jersey Devils), and forwards Jack Eichel (2015 NHL Draft eligible), Hudson Fasching (Buffalo Sabres) and Adam Erne (Tampa Bay Lightning).

The first-round picks invited to the camp are defenseman Anthony DeAngelo (Tampa Bay Lightning, No. 19, 2014), and forwards Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Blackhawks, No. 20, 2014), Michael McCarron (Montreal Canadiens, No. 25, 2013), Sonny Milano (Columbus Blue Jackets, No. 16, 2014), Alex Tuch (Minnesota Wild, No. 18, 2014) and Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings, No. 15, 2014).

Also invited is University of Michigan forward Tyler Motte, a 2013 fourth-round pick (No. 121) of the Chicago Blackhawks. Motte, the last player cut from the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team, has five goals and 10 points in 13 games for the Wolverines this season.

There will be five 2015 draft-eligible prospects at the camp: Defensemen Noah Hanifin (Boston College), Zach Werenski (Michigan) and Brandon Carlo (Tri-City, WHL) and forwards Jeremy Bracco (USA U-18) and Eichel (Boston University). Hanifin, Werenski, Carlo and Eichel are all A-rated skaters on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list. Bracco is a B-rated skater.

The youngest player invited to the camp is 17-year-old forward Auston Matthews of the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team. He is considered by many to be a top-two pick for the 2016 draft. Matthews leads the USNTDP with 20 goals and 45 points in 24 games.

The preliminary round of the 2015 WJC runs Dec. 26 through Dec. 31, with games at Air Canada Centre in Toronto and Bell Centre in Montreal.

The medal round will be held Jan. 2-5. The gold-medal game will be Jan. 5 at Air Canada Centre.

The 10-team tournament consists of the United States, Canada, Finland, Germany and Slovakia in Group A, and the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and Denmark in Group B.

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