Team USA Players to Watch at 2021 World Juniors

The Americans enter this month’s World Junior Championships with the most experience of any nation. They had a disappointing end to their run last season, but have added some interesting pieces to the mix to attempt a redemption run this time around.

With a forward group led by some of the NHL’s top prospects, including Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras, and Alex Turcotte, this team will be one to watch. The defensive core, however, only has one returning member, but the always consistent goaltending of Spencer Knight will also allow some of the newcomers to take risks offensively. With puck drop only a few days away, these are some of the new faces who could make an impact for Team USA.

Matthew Boldy

Boldy was one of the most surprising players left off of the training camp roster for last year’s tournament. Even though he wasn’t a part of the team a year ago, he has played with this group before at U18 Worlds in 2019. Despite not participating in last year’s tournament, Boldy put together a strong freshman campaign at Boston College after being selected 12th overall by the Minnesota Wild. He made the cut this year and will be looking to add to his already strong resume after his solid freshman season.

After putting up nine goals and 26 points in 34 games as a freshman, Boldy is off to a hot start to the 2020-21 season, with three goals and eight points through Boston College’s first four games. He will now look to carve out a role in the offense for the Americans, who have a strong group returning from last year’s team. While he might not be able to crack the top-six, Boldy will certainly provide a solid scoring punch wherever he is placed in a deep American forward group.

Brendan Brisson

Brisson joins the Americans after being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights 29th overall in this year’s draft. He boosted his draft stock after a strong season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, finishing second on the team in assists and points.

Brendan Brisson Chicago Steel
Brendan Brisson of the Chicago Steel (Chicago Steel)

He has played eight games thus far in his freshman season with the University of Michigan, ranking third on the team with seven points. Michigan teammate Matthew Beniers, who is eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft, also joins Team USA at forward and sits fourth on Michigan with six points. Brisson and his new teammate will be looking to make an impact early and secure a role on offense.

Jake Sanderson

Sanderson is one of the biggest names to join Team USA this season after being selected fifth overall in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. While not expected to join the Ottawa Senators for a few years, Sanderson has begun his freshman season at the University of North Dakota, recording a goal and three points through his first three college games.

Jake Sanderson USNTDP
Jake Sanderson, USA NTDP (Credit: Rena Laverty)

This is Sanderson’s first crack at the U20 tournament, after captaining the U18 roster last year. In 47 games with the United States Developmental Program last year, he scored seven goals and recorded a total of 29 points. Now joining a group of mostly new defensemen for this year’s tournament, Sanderson will look to make an impact early and secure a major role entering the tournament.

Team Outlook

There is no denying the talent present on the final roster for Team USA. When looking at the rest of Group B, there is a clear advantage to the Americans in most categories, especially with their exceptional goaltending and very strong top six forward group.

The questions lie in their defensive group, as only one blueliner is returning from their team a year ago. Confidence should still be had in the goaltending of Spencer Knight and if needed, Dustin Wolf. Putting pucks in the net shouldn’t be an issue, but finding chemistry with new defensemen is the priority for this group.

All the 2021 World Junior Championship Team Information:

Selection Camp Invites by NHL Team

One Player to Watch for Each World Junior Team

7 Predictions for the 2021 World Junior Championship

All Your THW 2021 World Junior Championship Coverage

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