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Matty Beniers, selected by the Seattle Kraken with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, was one of six first-round picks invited to the United States National Junior Team selection camp to help determine the roster for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The camp, which includes 17 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goalies, will be held at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, from Dec. 13-15.
Canada is the host country for the 2022 WJC, scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Red Deer and Edmonton, Alberta.
The United States will try to win the tournament back to back for the first time after defeating Canada 2-0 in the 2021 championship game. Canada was the last team to do so, winning five straight from 2005-09.
“We’re excited about the group we’ve named to the preliminary roster,” U.S. general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said. “Thanks to the efforts of so many coaches and volunteers across the country, our talent pool is deep, and we’ll have some very difficult decisions to make to get to our final roster.”
The team will travel to Edmonton, where it will continue training and play two exhibition games against the Czech Republic at Gary W. Harris Centre in Red Deer on Dec. 20 (9:30 p.m. ET) and Finland at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Dec. 22 (10 p.m. ET).
The United States is scheduled to play preliminary-round games at WP Centrium in Red Deer in Group B with Russia, Sweden, Slovakia and Switzerland. Canada’s preliminary schedule in Group A at Rogers Place includes Finland, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.
The top four teams in each group will play in the quarterfinals Jan. 2. The semifinals are Jan. 4, and the championship and third-place games are Jan. 5.
Beniers, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, has scored 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 16 games. He will be joined at selection camp by four Michigan teammates: defensemen Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils, No. 4, 2021) and Jacob Truscott (Vancouver Canucks, No. 144, 2020 NHL Draft), and forwards Thomas Bordeleau (San Jose Sharks, No. 38, 2020) and Mackie Samoskevich (Florida Panthers, No. 24, 2021).
Michigan coach Mel Pearson said his players will be given an opportunity to compete for their country at the 2022 World Juniors.
“As long as they’ve made the necessary academic arrangements before they depart, they will all be allowed to attend tryout camps and the tournament,” Pearson said. “I have had conversations with both the Canadian and U.S. management with regard to our student-athletes’ availability and I don’t foresee any issues at this point.”
Michigan defenseman Owen Power (Buffalo Sabres, No. 1, 2021) and forward Kent Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets, No. 5, 2021) are expected to attend Canada selection camp in Calgary from Dec. 9-12.
Three other NHL first-round picks will attend U.S. camp: defenseman Jake Sanderson (Ottawa Senators, No. 5, 2020); and forwards Matthew Coronato (Calgary Flames, No. 13, 2021) and Chaz Lucius (Winnipeg Jets, No. 18, 2021).
Forward Logan Cooley is one of five players attending who are eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft. Cooley is the only A rated player on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary players to watch list for the 2022 draft. The projected first-round selection has scored 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 18 games with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 Team.
“I’m really fortunate to be invited and get this opportunity,” Cooley said. “My family and I always watch the World Junior Championship during the Christmas break. I think every hockey fan watches it. It’s something you dream of when you’re a little kid; I feel like it’s the coolest tournament to play in and hopefully I’m fortunate to have a good camp and make the team.”
The United States has finished first five times.
GOALIES: Drew Commesso, Boston University, HE (Chicago Blackhawks); Kaidan Mbereko, Lincoln, USHL (2022 draft eligible); Luke Pavicich, Massachusetts, HE (2022 draft eligible); Dylan Silverstein, USA U-18, USHL (2022 draft eligible)
DEFENSEMEN: Sean Behrens, Denver, NCHC (Colorado Avalanche); *Brock Faber, Minnesota, BIG TEN (Los Angeles Kings); Luke Hughes, Michigan, BIG TEN (New Jersey Devils); Wyatt Kaiser, Minnesota Duluth, NCHC (Chicago Blackhawks); Connor Kelley, Minnesota Duluth, NCHC (Chicago Blackhawks); *Tyler Kleven, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Ian Moore, Harvard, ECAC (Anaheim Ducks); Scott Morrow, Massachusetts, HE (Carolina Hurricanes); *Jake Sanderson, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Jacob Truscott, Michigan, BIG TEN (Vancouver Canucks)
FORWARDS: *Matty Beniers, Michigan, BIG TEN (Seattle Kraken); *Brett Berard, Providence, HE (New York Rangers); Thomas Bordeleau, Michigan, BIG TEN (San Jose Sharks); Logan Cooley, USA U-18, USHL (2022 draft eligible); Matthew Coronato, Harvard, ECAC (Calgary Flames); Tanner Dickinson, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (St. Louis Blues); Dominic James, Minnesota Duluth, NCHC (2022 draft eligible); Matthew Knies, Minnesota, BIG TEN (Toronto Maple Leafs); Chaz Lucius, Minnesota, BIG TEN (Winnipeg Jets); Carter Mazur, Denver, NCHC (Detroit Red Wings); Declan McDonnell, Kitchener, OHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Sasha Pastujov, Guelph, OHL (Anaheim Ducks); Dylan Peterson, Boston University, HE (St. Louis Blues); Mackie Samoskevich, Michigan, BIG TEN (Florida Panthers); Redmond Savage, Miami, NCHC (Detroit Red Wings); *Landon Slaggert, Notre Dame, BIG TEN (Chicago Blackhawks); Ty Smilanic, Quinnipiac, ECAC (Florida Panthers)
* — Denotes returning player
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