With the long wait for the World Junior Championships nearly over, Team USA is deep in the midst of final preparations. With final cuts due to be announced on Dec. 22, we have a pretty good picture of what this American team could look like in Russia.
Coached by Phil Housley, Team USA has concluded their brief training camp in Tarrytown, N.Y. and travelled to Finland for a pair of warm up games. Pre-tournament clashes with Sweden (Dec. 20) and Finland (Dec. 22) will be the last chance for players on the bubble to earn their way to Russia.
According to TSN, forward Stefan Noesen, selected by Ottawa in the first round of the 2011 draft, has been ruled ineligible as a result of a suspension incurred while playing for the OHL's Plymouth Whalers.
His absence leaves Team USA with 26 players vying for 23 pots. The Americans will likely cut two defensemen and a forward following their final exhibition game against Finland next week.
The 23 remaining players will begin their gold medal pursuit against Germany on Dec. 27. On Monday, NHL.com's Mike Morreale reported the line combinations used in the team's final training camp practice, offering some idea of what role each player will fill. Those combinations can be found on his Twitter page.
With camp now completed, lets take a look at what the final lineup could look like.
*Complete preliminary roster available here, courtesy of USA Hockey