Last Year – A dreadful finish last year for the vaunted USA team, as the defending champions finished the 2012 tournament out of the quarterfinals and having to participate in the relegation round. A stellar performance from Ottawa 67’s goalie Petr Mrazek of the Czech Republic shocked the Americans and made sure the best they could finish was 7th overall, much to the delight of the pro-Canadian crowd.
# Returnees – 3 – John Gibson, Jacob Trouba, JT Miller
Key Players – In addition to the returnees, who will be heavily relied upon to provide leadership, 2012 2nd overall pick Alex Galcheynuk will be expected to contribute for the US to improve on the 2012 result.
Missing Notables – Ottawa Senators prospect Stefan Noesen was issued a suspension in the OHL, and as a result was ruled ineligible for the tournament.
Watch For – Big defenseman Seth Jones, who should be one of the top 2 picks in the 2013 entry draft. He is a big shutdown presence who will be a stalwart on the US blue line.
Prediction – This version of the US team might not be as heralded as last year’s version, but there is plenty of talent. All but one player who has been eligible to be drafted have been, and there are 2 players who are eligible for 2013. Gibson had been one of the top goalies in the OHL this season and should be the starter. I don’t forsee the same type of upset befalling this roster and the US should re-take their usual position in the quarterfinals, and even the semi-finals. Then it depends on the draw to see if they will be playing for Gold or Bronze. I see a showdown with Sweden for the Bronze medal in their future.