Matt Grzelcyk will be one of nine defensemen vying for one of seven roster spots on the United States’ 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship roster. The Boston University freshman and Bruins’ third-round draftee out of Charlestown, Mass. was listed on Team USA’s preliminary roster, which was released on Tuesday morning.
Like their Canadian counterparts, the Amerks will conduct a three-day evaluation next week with the final 23 selections stamped on Dec. 23, three days before round-robin play begins on site in Ufa, Russia.
Besides the potential universal fascination with Grzelcyk among the Bruins fanbase, those with an interest in three other New England college hockey programs ought to also have their eyes on a prospective World Junior ambassador.
Grzelcyk will be seeking a brief alliance with Beanpot rivals Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College and Jim Vesey of Harvard, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators prospects, respectively. In addition, Hockey East adversary Jon Gillies of Providence College, another Calgary draft choice, is among the USA’s three camp-bound goaltenders.
Grzelcyk’s internal competition to fill the U.S. blue-line brigade consists of five fellow NCAA players and three major-junior players. As of Tuesday, among defensive scorers in the college ranks who are on the preliminary roster, only Union sophomore and Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere has a greater output than Grzelcyk’s 2-9-11 log through 13 games.
Jacob Trouba is the American’s only prospective defensive returnee from a previous WJC, but Grzelcyk is among those with prior experience wearing the Star-Spangled Sweater. He won a pair of gold medals with the program’s 18-and-under edition at the 2011 Four Nations tournament and 2012 World Championship.