Paul Bittner Will Not Play for U.S. at World Juniors

In addition to the official announcement that Noah Hanifin won’t play at the 2016 World Junior Championship, the U.S. team had more bad news in the early going. 2015 2nd round draft pick Paul Bittner will not be participating in the tournament either, USA Hockey announced.

Bittner was ruled out after having hip surgery over the weekend. No replacement player was announced for selection camp, which opens Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, after Paul suffered an injury to his hip it was determined to be severe enough to require surgery,” remarked Portland Winterhawks head coach and GM Jamie Kompon in a press release issued on Monday.

Bittner looked like a strong possibility for Team USA’s bottom six. He has a nice combination of size, at 6 foot 4, and offense, putting up 10 goals and 21 points through 25 games this season.

Bittner signed an entry-level contract over the summer after being drafted 38th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He was one of 29 players named to selection camp for the United States, which will take place in Boston before the team trims its roster some and heads to Helsinki, Finland for a couple of exhibition games. Following those games they’ll trim the camp down to their tournament roster of 20 skaters and three goaltenders.

The 2016 World Junior Championship begins on December 26.

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