When Team Canada revealed their selection camp roster on December 1st, the complete lack of Winnipeg prospects was disappointing, but expected. There simply aren't any Scheifele or Morrissey-caliber Canadian prospects currently in the system; c'est la vie. Many, myself included, took solace in knowing that the Jets, flush with highly regarded American Under-20s, were sure to have a better showing at the U.S.A. Hockey equivalent.
Well, about that. The 2016 U.S. National Junior Team Preliminary Roster was revealed today and, much to the internet's dismay and horror, both of Winnipeg's American-born 2015 1st round draft picks were omitted:
Players selected by NHL clubs in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft who were named include: Zach Werenski (8th overall), Colin White (21st), Brock Boeser (23rd) and Paul Bittner (38th). As a point of reference, Connor was selected 17th overall, while Roslovic was picked 25th. Kyle Connor also ranked 9th in our Top 25 Under 25 series, while Roslovic came in at 12th.
At the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp held in August, Roslovic had put up 3 points in 3 games while playing with Team White, and another 2 points in 3 games with the melded USA squad. Connor had 2 points in 3 games with Team Blue, but 0 points in 2 games with Team USA. Erik Foley, Winnipeg's third round selection in the 2015 draft and 24th in our Top 25 Under 25 series, impressed with 2 goals in 3 games with Team Blue, plus a goal in his single game with Team USA. Despite making a name for himself at the evaluation camp, Foley was always a longshot; Connor and Roslovic are the real shockers here.
And they weren't the only surprises of note. TSN analyst Craig Button, whose evaluations in my experience tend to be beloved or reviled, seemed absolutely flabbergasted by many of the absences:
To recap there is no way IMO, injury excepted, that Garland, Tuch, Connor, Roslovic, Fischer, or Yan should not be at @usahockey Jr. Camp— Craig Button (@CraigJButton) December 7, 2015
The incredibly underrated Julie Robenhymer also expressed her surprise, while attempting to make some sense of this suddenly mad, mad world:
Last few yrs, USA hasn't strayed far from final roster at evaluation camp & the few surprises (like Wood last yr) ended up outstanding adds— Julie Robenhymer (@JulieRobenhymer) December 7, 2015
These decisions weren't made quickly & were well thoughtout. USA wants specific characteristics and this year they have many great options.— Julie Robenhymer (@JulieRobenhymer) December 7, 2015
My biggest omissions for USA are Roslovic, Connor and Turgeon (great defensively and on faceoffs)— Julie Robenhymer (@JulieRobenhymer) December 7, 2015
My favourite take however, may be from Future Considerations hockey scout Andrew Weiss:
A team of US that won't be @ WJC (Eichel, Larkin, Hanifin, Connor, Roslovic, Tuch, Bracco, Garland, Fischer) might give actual US team a run— Andrew Weiss (@WeissFC) December 7, 2015
The aforementioned Julie Robenhymer gave a silver lining, if you're interested in the long-term success of U.S.A. Hockey at the moment:
The really awesome part about people being shocked by so many omissions on USA's #2016WJC roster is that it means USA has that many options.— Julie Robenhymer (@JulieRobenhymer) December 7, 2015
Personally, I think that Jets fan @NicDea48 made the far more compelling argument:
@PhilipAIver This could be a good thing. I won't feel badly about cheering against a US team without them on it.— Nicole (@NicDea48) December 7, 2015
This, in my opinion, comes as quite the blow to our collective egos. Be sure to express your outrage in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading!