The United States announced its preliminary roster for the World Junior Hockey Championships, which will take place later this month in Gothenburg, Sweden. The roster features two Canadiens prospects vying for a spot on the team. Defenseman Lane Hutson and goaltending prospect Jacob Fowler are two of the 29 players to make the roster.
The US will have to narrow that list down to 25, with the expected final roster to be announced by December 19th. Hutson will look to make his second appearance for the US at the World Juniors, having won bronze with the Americans last year in Halifax. As for Fowler, this would be his first appearance at the World Juniors.
Hutson should play a much more significant role for the Americans at this year’s tournament, with Luke Hughes (the #1 defenseman last year) now with the Devils in the NHL. Hutson should play top-pairing minutes and play on the first powerplay. Hutson had four points (one goal. and three assists) in seven games last year.
Hutson also represented the Americans at the world championships last year, a men’s tournament, mind you, where he registered six points in nine games. This year at Boston University, the defenseman has 20 points in 15 games.
As for Fowler, his spot isn’t necessarily as locked in as Hutson’s, but he still looks to have a pretty good shot at making the team. Only three goalies were invited to the preliminary roster, so barring another one being added or the States only opting to bring two goalies, his spot seems assured. But he’ll have to battle with Trey Augustine for the number one spot in the crease.
Augustine was the number one goalie for the States at last year’s tournament, helping them win bronze, and was a second-round pick of the Red Wings in the 2023 draft. Augustine has a 9-3-2 record while sporting a .911 SV% and a 3.17 GAA with Michigan State this season.
Fowler, a third-round pick by the Canadiens, is 12-3-1 with a .929 SV% and a 2.04 GAA. But Fowler must outperform Augustine at the US preliminary camp and throughout the tournament if he wants to be the number one goalie. I doubt his play so far this season is enough to secure that role on its own, though it certainly helps.
Interestingly enough, Cole Eiserman, a top prospect in the 2024 draft, did not make this roster despite tearing up the USNDTP. This US team might very well be the favourites to win this year, as the team is talented and very deep. It’ll be must-see TV for Canadiens fans, with a few other Canadiens prospects on other teams as well. And it all starts on December 26th. As someone who will be there to see it live and in person, I, for one, can’t wait.
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