Hockey Canada hasn’t had much luck prying eligible players away from their NHL organizations for the World Junior Championship. USA Hockey, however, scored one for their side Sunday.
While Mitch Marner (TOR), Anthony Beauvillier (NYI), Travis Konecny (PHI) and Jakob Chychrun and Lawson Crouse (ARI) are locked in with their respective teams, the Winnipeg Jets announced they’re loaning center Jack Roslovic to Team USA for the Montreal-Toronto tournament. The difference is that Roslovic, 19, has spent the entire season to date with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose where he leads the club in scoring with 19 points in 25 games.
The United States plays its first pre-tourney game Dec. 21 against Switzerland in Oshawa, Ont., as it aims to improve on a bronze-medal finish from Helsinki. Luke Kunin (MIN) was named captain Sunday, while Colin White (OTT) and Charlie McAvoy (BOS) were named alternates.
Roslovic was cut from last year’s team, but there’s little doubt he figures to factor in prominently this time. He’s in his first pro season after playing with Miami University of Ohio in 2015-16. He was selected 25th overall by the Jets in 2015.
Roslovic was named the Winnipeg Jets prospect to watch in The Hockey News’ World Junior Championship preview issue. “He should play top-six minutes on a deep and dangerous U.S. forward group,” the description reads. That’s even more apt now that University of North Dakota right winger Brock Boeser (VAN) will miss the event because of a wrist injury.
Roslovic’s inclusion on the squad is welcome news for the Americans, who will be without a few key eligible returnees in addition to Boeser. Matthew Tkachuk (CGY) and Zach Werenski (CBJ) are firmly entrenched in the NHL. Auston Matthews (TOR) was always the longest of long shots after being selected first overall in June.
Other frontrunners will be missing key players, too. The defending gold medallists from Finland won’t have Patrik Laine (WPG), Jesse Puljujarvi (Edm) and Sebastian Aho (CAR), the three members of the 2016 tournament’s dominant line.
Russian defenseman Ivan Provorov is playing 20:49 a night with Philadelphia and has three goals and 14 points in 33 games. Russia shouldn’t be expecting him – and isn’t.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Hockey Canada received word that none of the five-potential world junior-eligible players will be loaned before Monday's NHL holiday roster freeze. There wasn’t even a query about the sixth: NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid. Just in case there was any doubt about that.