The players at this camp are being evaluated for possible inclusion on the U.S. team for the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, which will be held in Montreal and Toronto from December 26 – January 5.
Among the 27 players staying are 2014 Minnesota Wild draft picks Alex Tuch and Louie Belpedio. They will participate in the three remaining games against the Czech Republic, Finland, and Sweden. The team will not announce the World Junior team roster until later this year and players cut from the original group of 42 still have a shot at making the team.
Others in the group of 27 include top prospect for the 2015 draft Jack Eichel, U of M standout and Sabres’ prospect Hudson Fasching (who played great at World’s last year), and Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko — a player who the Wild were speculated to have interest in during this year’s NHL draft. Those three, along with the University of Denver’s Will Butcher and Boston College’s Steve Santini all played for the 2014 U.S. World Junior team at the tournament in Malmo, Sweden.
The remaining games will take place against Sweden on August 6, Finland on August 7, and the Czech Republic on August 9, with all games being played at the Olympic Center’s USA Rink.
In June, the IIHF announced the schedule for the opening round of the tournament, which has the U.S. playing Finland on December 26, Germany on December 28 (a day after the U.S. has a day off and the Germans play Canada), Slovakia on December 29, and a matinee against Canada on December 31.
So this winter, when the NHL hits it’s CBA-mandated time off, Wild fans may have the chance to watch a couple of prospects hit one of the world’s biggest stages for young players, as well as seeing two of the mostly highly touted prospects in nearly a decade in Eichel and Connor McDavid, who is just 17 and will likely suit up for Canada.