Eight OHLers are among the 29 players selected to the preliminary roster for the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team.
The roster includes three players currently in the top five in OHL scoring, Alex DeBrincat (Erie), Christian Dvorak (London) and Matthew Tkachuk (London), as well as forward Ryan MacInnis (Kitchener). DeBrincat has scored a league leading 32 goals in 28 games while Dvorak is tied for the OHL lead with 58 points in 25 games. Playing on a strong London team, Tkachuk has a league leading 40 assists and MacInnis leads Kitchener in goals with 19, good for sixth league wide.
In net, all four goalies invited to camp are from the OHL. Brandon Halverson (Sault Ste. Marie) and Alex Nedeljkovic (Flint/Niagara) both return from last year’s team while Luke Opilka (Kitchener) and Tyler Parsons (London) look to make an impression at camp. Both Parsons and Opilka are eligible for the 2017 World Juniors as well.
Former OHLer Sonny Milano (Plymouth) was also invited to camp, the 2014 first rounder of the Columbus Blue Jackets has 11 points in 22 AHL games with Lake Erie.
Eight of the players available are eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft: Kieffer Bellows, Alex DeBrincat, Clayton Keller, Auston Matthews, Matthew Tkachuk, Chad Krys, Charlie McAvoy and Tyler Parsons. 16 players have been drafted to the NHL, including four first round picks, and four players are currently NHL Free Agents.
The players will attend training camp December 14-18 at Boston University followed by an additional camp December 19-24 in Vierumaki, Finland.
The final 23-man roster is expected to be named by Dec. 24. Team USA will compete in the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec.26-Jan.5, in Helsinki, Finland.