clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Zach Werenski to Captain Team USA at World Juniors in Helsinki

The Wolverines' top defenseman has a good reason to miss the GLI.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

USA Hockey announced Zach Werenski will captain Team USA at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Helsinki. Per MGoBlue, he joins current NHLers Kevin Porter (2006) and Eric Nystrom (2003) as the third ever Michigan Hockey player to lead the squad.

This is an interesting time for Michigan on a national level, considering just a year ago that seemingly the scoring majority of Michigan's top six forwards (Dylan Larkin, JT Compher, and Tyler Motte) and its best defenseman in Werenski made the trip to the WJC in Canada, leaving Steve Racine and Andrew Copp to carry the team at the Great Lakes Invitational. This will be less of a problem this year, but Kyle Connor (11th in NCAA scoring with 11G, 22pts) stands as a notable (and frankly questionable) omission from Ron Wilson's roster.

"We're excited about our leadership group here in Finland," said Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, to MGoBlue. "Zach, Louie, Auston and Colin have led by example since day one in Lake Placid this August and have the respect of everybody in the room."

Werenski, the Big Ten's highest-scoring defenseman, hopes to return Team USA to the podium after a shocking early quarterfinal exit at the hands of Russia in Montreal. Despite questions about the roster, the team as it is assembled is widely viewed as a team far too good to leave before the medal round. If only a roster could be assembled without controversy...

SB Nation College Puck's Roster Breakdown

Arctic Ice Hockey's analysis of its prospect omissions, notably Kyle Connor

Team USA's schedule for the World Junior Championship (Times EST):

Saturday, Dec. 26 -- vs. Canada, 1 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 28 -- vs. Sweden, 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 30 -- vs. Switzerland, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 31 -- vs. Denmark, 9 a.m.
Saturday, Jan. 2 -- Quarterfinals, TBD
Monday, Jan. 4 -- Semifinals, TBD
Tuesday, Jan. 5 -- Medal Round, TBD

Team USA Roster

NO.
NAME
HT (CM)
WT (KG)
BIRTHDATE
S/C
HOMETOWN
MOST RECENT TEAM
NHL DRAFT RIGHTS
10 Anders Bjork 5-11 (180) 183 (83) 8/5/1996 R Mequon, Wis. University of Notre Dame (HEA) BOS ('14, 5th rd., 146th ovr.)
23 Brock Boeser 6-0 (183) 192 (87) 2/25/1997 R Burnsville, Minn. University of North Dakota (NCHC) VAN ('15, 1st rd., 23rd ovr.)
12 Alex DeBrincat 5-7 (170) 161 (73) 12/18/1997 L Farmington Hills, Mich. Erie Otters (OHL) 2016 Draft Eligible
19 Ryan Donato 6-1 (185) 181 (82) 4/9/1996 L Scituate, Mass. Harvard University (ECAC Hockey) BOS ('14, 2nd rd., 56th ovr.)
11 Christian Dvorak 6-0 (183) 187 (85) 2/2/1996 L Palos, Ill. London Knights (OHL) ARZ ('14, 2nd rd., 58th ovr.)
14 Scott Eansor 5-8 (173) 168 (76) 1/3/1996 L Englewood, Colo. Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) Free Agent
21 Ryan Hitchcock 5-10 (178) 170 (77) 3/30/1996 L Manhasset, N.Y. Yale University (ECAC Hockey) Free Agent
34 Auston Matthews 6-0 (183) 199 (90) 9/17/1997 L Scottsdale, Ariz. ZSC Lions (National A-Swiss) 2016 Draft Eligible
17 Ryan MacInnis 6-4 (193) 185 (84) 2/14/1996 L St. Louis, Mo. Kitchener Rangers (OHL) ARZ ('14, 2nd rd., 43rd ovr.)
28 Sonny Milano 5-11 (180) 185 (85) 5/12/1996 L Massapequa, N.Y. Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) CBJ ('14, 1st rd., 16th ovr.)
9 Nick Schmaltz 6-0 (183) 172 (78) 2/23/1996 R Verona, Wis. University of North Dakota (NCHC) CHI ('14, 1st rd., 20th ovr.)
7 Matthew Tkachuk 6-1 (185) 188 (85) 12/11/1997 L St. Louis, Mo. London Knights (OHL) 2016 Draft Eligible
18 Colin White 6-0 (183) 183 (83) 1/30/1997 R Hanover, Mass. Boston College (HEA) OTT ('15, 1st rd., 21st ovr.)
DEFENSEMEN (7)
NO.
NAME
HT (CM)
WT (KG)
BIRTHDATE
S/C
HOMETOWN
MOST RECENT TEAM
NHL DRAFT RIGHTS
8 Louie Belpedio 5-10 (178) 194 (88) 5/14/1996 R Skokie, Ill. Miami University (NCHC) MIN ('14, 3rd rd., 80th ovr.)
20 Will Borgen 6-2 (188) 195 (88) 12/19/1996 R Moorhead, Minn. St. Cloud State University (NCHC) BUF ('15, 4th rd., 92nd ovr.)
26 Brandon Carlo 6-5 (196) 195 (88) 11/26/1996 R Colorado Springs, Colo. Tri-City Americans (WHL) BOS ('15, 2nd rd., 37th ovr.)
5 Brandon Fortunato 5-10 (178) 148 (67) 6/7/1996 L Albertson, N.Y. Boston University (HEA) Free Agent
4 Chad Krys 5-11 (180) 183 (83) 4/10/1998 L Ridgefield, Conn. U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL) 2016 Draft Eligible
25 Charlie McAvoy 6-0 (183) 205 (93) 12/21/1997 R Long Beach, N.Y. Boston University (HEA) 2016 Draft Eligible
13 Zach Werenski 6-2 (188) 214 (97) 7/19/1997 L Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. University of Michigan (Big Ten) CBJ ('15, 1st rd., 8th ovr.)
GOALTENDERS (2)
NO.
NAME
HT (CM)
WT (KG)
BIRTHDATE
S/C
HOMETOWN
MOST RECENT TEAM
NHL DRAFT RIGHTS
36 Brandon Halverson 6-4 (193) 179 (81) 2/29/1996 L Traverse City, Mich. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) NYR ('14, 2nd rd., 59th ovr.)
31 Alex Nedeljkovic 6-0 (183) 190 (86) 1/7/1996 R Parma, Ohio Niagara IceDogs (OHL) CAR ('14, 2nd rd., 37th ovr.)