Sanderson among 29 invited to U.S. World Junior selection camp

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The camp is the final stage of the evaluation process for picking the team that will play for the United States at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is scheduled to be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton Dec. 25 through Jan. 5 without fans in attendance in a secure-zone bubble similar to what the NHL used for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. 

There are 29 players invited to U.S. select camp and four players will be cut before the team travels to Edmonton. 

“The World Juniors is something that I have watched every year since I was little and now that I have the opportunity to play in this tournament is very exciting,” Sanderson said. “There are some great players that will be on the team so getting to know everyone is also something I am looking forward to as well.”

Sanderson (6-foot-2, 185 pounds), a left-shot defenseman, scored 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 47 games with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team last season and is a freshman at the University of North Dakota of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference this season.

North Dakota is scheduled to begin its season on Dec. 2.

“Obviously, I’m excited about the tournament but my main focus right now is with my team at North Dakota,” Sanderson said. “We have a strong team that has put in a lot of work over the past couple months so finally showcasing our talents in the next couple days will be exciting.”

In addition to Sanderson, there is one other player selected in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft invited to camp, forward Brendan Brisson (No. 29, Vegas Golden Knights), and eight selected in the 2019 NHL Draft: goalie Spencer Knight (No. 13, Florida Panthers), defensemen Cameron York (No. 14, Philadelphia Flyers) and Ryan Johnson (No. 31, Buffalo Sabres), and forwards Alex Turcotte (No. 5, Los Angeles Kings), Trevor Zegras (No. 9, Anaheim Ducks), Matthew Boldy (No. 12, Minnesota Wild), Cole Caufield (No. 15, Montreal Canadiens) and John Beecher (No. 30, Boston Bruins). 

The camp includes two players eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft: forward Matthew Beniers of the University of Michigan in the Big Ten and defenseman Cameron McDonald of Saint John in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Beniers (6-1, 174) is an A rated skater on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary players to watch list, and McDonald (6-1, 190) is a C rated skater.

Players with an A rating are considered potential first-round picks. Players with B ratings are considered possible second- or third-round choices, and those with C ratings are potential fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round selections.

“We have a talented group and we’ll have some tough decisions to make,” United States general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said. “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.”

The United States finished sixth at the 2020 WJC, ending a run of four straight tournaments with a top-three finish that included the 2017 tournament championship.

The United States will play in Group B at the WJC, along with Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Austria. Group A will consist of 2020 WJC winner Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany. The United States will open the tournament against Russia on Dec. 25 (9:30 p.m. ET).

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.

Providence College coach Nate Leaman will coach the United States.

 

UNITED STATES NATIONAL JUNIOR TEAM SELECT CAMP ROSTER

GOALIES: Drew Commesso, Boston University, HE (Chicago Blackhawks); *Spencer Knight, Boston College, HE (Florida Panthers); *Dustin Wolf, Everett, WHL (Calgary Flames)

DEFENSEMEN: Brock Faber, Minnesota, Big Ten (Los Angeles Kings); Drew Helleson, Boston College, HE (Colorado Avalanche); Ryan Johnson, Minnesota, Big Ten (Buffalo Sabres); Jackson LaCombe, Minnesota, Big Ten (Anaheim Ducks); Cameron McDonald, Providence, HE (2021 draft eligible); Jake Sanderson, North Dakota, NCHC (Ottawa Senators); Henry Thrun, Dubuque, USHL (Anaheim Ducks); Alex Vlasic, Boston University, HE (Chicago Blackhawks); *Cameron York, Michigan, Big Ten (Philadelphia Flyers)

FORWARDS: *John Beecher, Michigan, Big Ten (Boston Bruins); Matthew Beniers, Michigan, Big Ten (2021 draft eligible); Brett Berard, Providence, HE (New York Rangers); Matthew Boldy, Boston College, HE (Minnesota Wild); Thomas Bordeleau, Michigan, Big Ten (San Jose Sharks); *Bobby Brink, Denver, NCHC (Philadelphia Flyers); Brendan Brisson, Michigan, Big Ten (Vegas Golden Knights); *Cole Caufield, Wisconsin, Big Ten (Montreal Canadiens); Sam Colangelo, Northeastern, HE (Anaheim Ducks); John Farinacci, Muskegon, USHL (Arizona Coyotes); *Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton, OHL (Los Angeles Kings); Robert Mastrosimone, Boston University, HE (Detroit Red Wings); Patrick Moynihan, Providence, HE (New Jersey Devils); *Nick Robertson, Toronto, NHL; Landon Slaggert, Notre Dame, CCHA (Chicago Blackhawks); *Alex Turcotte, Eisbaren Berlin, DEL (Los Angeles Kings); *Trevor Zegras, San Diego, AHL (Anaheim Ducks)

*Denotes returning member of team

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