The United States will bring a team of young guns to Halifax for next month’s IIHF world hockey championship.
Calder Trophy hopeful Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes teenage hotshot Peter Mueller highlight the U.S. team’s initial 17-man roster, announced yesterday.
The team’s average age is 23.8 and only three players — goalie Craig Anderson (Florida) and forwards Paul Gaustad (Buffalo) and Jeff Halpern (Tampa Bay) — are older than 25.
“This is an exciting group of players that has great potential,” said Jim Johansson, the U.S. team’s assistant executive director of hockey operations. “We have worked hard to put together a team that will put us in position to be successful.”
Kane, a 5-foot-10, 163-pound forward, led NHL rookies in scoring with 21 goals and 51 assists for 72 points in 82 games after the Blackhawks drafted him No. 1 overall last summer.
Others to watch are Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville, whose 80-point season led all players on the roster. Los Angeles Kings forwards Dustin Brown (33 goals) and Patrick O’Sullivan (53 points) are other standouts.
Pominville, it should be noted, was raised in Montreal, but has dual citizenship because his mother is American.
Edmonton Oilers defencemen Tom Gilbert and Matt Greene were the only players named from Canadian teams.
The Americans play in a pool with Canada, Slovenia and Latvia. The U.S.-Canada clash on Tuesday, May 6, is the most anticipated game on the round-robin schedule.
The event runs May 2 to 18 in Halifax and Quebec City.
Germany, Finland, Slovakia and Norway form the other Halifax pool, while Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic highlight the eight teams who will battle in Quebec City.
The four quarter-finals will be held at the Metro Centre, while the semifinals and gold-medal game are in Quebec City.