WJC Preview: Team USA

Noah Hanifin and Jack Eichel are rivals in NCAA play, but will be teammates at the WJC. Getty Images

Team USA enters the IIHF under-20 World Championship -- referred to simply as the World Junior Championship or WJC by many -- with the clear second-best roster. It's a legitimate contender for the gold medal, featuring a very exciting forward group that is one of Team USA's best of recent memory.

That includes likely second overall pick in 2015 Jack Eichel, as well as Auston Matthews, who will contend for first overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Note that some players listed here will not be on the final roster, as the club has yet to make its final cuts ahead of this column being published.

Players are listed alphabetically by position, and are presented along with the team that owns each player's rights, while draft prospects are denoted as such.


Jeremy Bracco, RW, 2015 draft eligible (USNTDP, USHL)

This may not be his year to shine at the under-20 level, but I can't say enough good things about Bracco's game. He's a great skater, has incredible skill and hockey sense, and is genuinely fun to watch play the game. He's been dominant offensively on a very loaded offensive USNTDP squad playing alongside the gifted Auston Matthews. The issue is that he's really small -- listed at 5-foot-9, 172 pounds -- and it will be tough for him to get a lot of ice time on a team with many similar players.