Earlier today, Team USA announced its preliminary roster for the 2013 World Junior Championships set to kick off on December 26th in Ufa, Russia. Among the 15 forwards selected was San Jose Sharks 2011 fifth-rounder Sean Kuraly, who starred at the team's Lake Placid evaluation camp in the summer. Kuraly has had a bit of a disappointing start to his debut NCAA season, scoring just two goals and an assist in his first 14 games for Miami University.
Still, Kuraly tore up the USHL last year with 70 points in 54 games and his aforementioned performance at Team USA's summer camp prompted one NHL scout to tell Grant Sonier of ESPN, "Whatever round this kid was taken in, it should have been the first." Kuraly was never really expected to display the kind of offensive chops he did at the evaluation camp or last season with the Indiana Ice. Most scouting reports tend to agree that he's a strong two-way center with above-average hockey IQ who can lead a penalty killing unit. After an unexpectedly poor seventh-place finish at last year's World Junior Championships, this year's iteration of Team USA could benefit from Kuraly's defensive prowess.
Hall of Famer Phil Housley will be coaching the team which includes other notable names like projected 2013 top-two pick Seth Jones, 2012 3rd overall pick Alex Galchenyuk, and other 2012 first-rounders like Jacob Trouba, Connor Murphy, Brady Skjei and Stefan Matteau. Based on their final roster from a year ago, it appears likely Team USA will cut two defensemen, a forward and a goaltender from their preliminary roster. The camp to decide who stays and who goes will run from December 13th to 16th.