WJC Evaluation Camp roster
I apologize for not posting it yesterday as promised. It seems I am unable to log in to the blog sometimes. I was getting a heavy dose of "Cannot display page" yesterday.
Anyway, the camp roster is loaded with WCHA players. The roster breakdown: 20 WCHA players, 11 CCHA, 7 Hockey East, 5 Canadian major junior, 1 ECAC and Patrick Kane, who is expected to play in the OHL next season.
Minnesota has an incredible eight players invited to camp. Along with UND's four, Wisconsin has three, Duluth two, Colorado College two and Denver one.
The large number of WCHA players goes to show how much young talent there is in the league. Expect rookies to make significant waves again this season.
Which players will make the team? UND's Chorney and Lee are pretty much locks. For Lee, he will become a rare three-year player for the national junior team. Chorney should be a repeat selection. Zach Jones didn't make the team last year, but he was considered. If he has another solid first half at UND this fall, I would expect him to also make the team.
A lot of this will depend on Minnesota recruit Erik Johnson and Michigan's Jack Johnson. Both are outstanding pro prospects and either/both could be playing in the NHL come December. Jack Johnson already turned down one offer by Carolina and said he will be staying. Of course, that could change during the summer. (Think he is regretting not signing now that he would be two games away from the Cup?) Erik Johnson is the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the draft. No college hockey player who was drafted No. 1 overall has played in college after being selected.
If the Johnsons go pro and don't play on the junior team, that will free spots up on defense and make Zach Jones an even more likely candidate to make the team.
As for Forney, he is bubble player. He was supposed to be on the gold medal U-18 team this summer, but missed the tournament in Sweden because of an injury. Maybe he'll get to play in Sweden six months later instead.
The UND players on the team will miss the Dartmouth tournament, scheduled for late December. Keep in mind you can add Jonathan Toews to the list of players missing for that tournament, as he is a virtual lock for Team Canada.
At this point, it is a bit difficult to project the roster. It seemed that USA Hockey put a lot of stock into players' performances in the first half of the season last year. Also, it remains to be seen who will be playing in the NHL come Christmastime.
But at this point, here is my projected roster:
Jeff Frazee, Minnesota
Jeff Zatkoff, Miami
Bill Sweatt, Colorado College
Chad Rau, Colorado College
Ryan Stoa, Minnesota
Phil Kessel, Minnesota
Kyle Okposo, Minnesota
Michael Forney, UND
Michael Gergen, Minnesota Duluth
Jack Skille, Wisconsin
Benn Ferriero, Boston College
Bobby Ryan, Owen Sound (OHL)
Nick Foligno, Sudbury (OHL)
Peter Mueller, Everett (WHL)
Patrick Kane, TBA
Erik Johnson, Minnesota
Jack Johnson, Michigan
Mark Mitera, Michigan
Brian Lee, UND
Taylor Chorney, UND
Zach Jones, UND
Ben Strait, Boston Univ.