The 2021 World Juniors Championship is set to take place next month in Edmonton, Alberta and Team USA is starting to take shape. USA Hockey announced the preliminary roster for the tournament, comprised of 29 players, who will participate in a selection camp in Plymouth, Mich. starting on Dec. 6. The final roster will be announced on Dec. 13.
Among the 17 forwards are two Anaheim Ducks prospects: center Trevor Zegras and right wing Sam Colangelo. Jackson LaCombe and Henry Thrun, two of the nine defenders on the roster, are from Anaheim’s system, as well.
A ninth-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Zegras is one of ten returning players from last year’s U20 team. Last year, he played for Boston University, where he tallied 11 goals and 25 assists in 33 games. He signed with the Ducks last March, ending his NCAA career after one season.
Sam Colangelo will likely be fighting for a final roster spot. The 18-year-old was selected by the Ducks in the second round of the 2020 Draft out of the Chicago Steel of the USHL. He is currently committed to the Northeastern University Howlin’ Huskies hockey program, which is set to begin their season on Dec. 26.
Jackson LaCombe is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, where last year he put up 13 points in 33 games. He was a second-round pick by the Ducks in 2019. If he makes the team, this would be his first World Juniors performance.
Thrun previously represented Team USA in World Juniors at the U18 and U17 levels and was part of the US National Team Development Program, prior to being selected in the fourth round of the 2019 Draft. He tallied 21 points in 31 games for Harvard University last year, but due to the Ivy League cancelling winter sports amid coronavirus concerns, he returned to the USHL to play with the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
“We have a talented group and we’ll have some tough decisions to make,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team and assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey in a release. “We continue to benefit from a deep player pool, and that’s credit to all of the organizations and volunteers developing the next wave of American talent.”
Fourteen different states are represented on the preliminary roster and 26 of the 29 players have college hockey experience. They will need to make four cuts before the tournament, which will take place “bubble style” in Edmonton from Dec. 25, 2020 – Jan. 5, 2021.
Last year, Team USA finished sixth, following a four-year streak of top-three performances. They last won Gold at World Juniors in 2017, having also won it in 2004, 2010 and 2013.
Here’s the full selection camp roster: