Last year in Buffalo, the Americans came out flat against Sweden in the semifinal, and it cost them a chance at gold. Team USA still came away with a bronze after drubbing the Czechs in the third-place match, but for a squad that had already beaten Canada in an outdoor game, the end result was a little hollow.
That American team had a ton of firepower up front, led by Casey Mittelstadt and Kieffer Bellows. Both of them have aged out of the world juniors, but the U.S. will still have a loaded arsenal at its disposal thanks to the latest top NHL draft prospect, Jack Hughes. Team USA will likely ask the Ottawa Senators to loan budding power forward Brady Tkachuk for the tourney, but it’s hard to see the Sens agreeing to that request, given how well the rookie has played while healthy.
About the Author
Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.