The United States has won seven medals in the IIHF World Junior Championships―two gold, one silver and four bronze―dating back to 1986.
Since the 1988-89 tournament, an American has finished a WJC tournament with sole possession of the scoring lead eight times: 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Two others, in 2004 and 2007, tied opposing skaters for the scoring lead.
In that same vein, the more sparkling stoppers in the U.S. program’s history have emerged while backstopping a medal-caliber team.
While there was not an utter lack of celestial skaters representing the stars and stripes during the 20-and-under holiday tournament’s first decade of existence, the last quarter-century has seen a rise in young American hockey interest and talent.
In turn, an all-time U.S. World Junior fantasy roster is bound to be comprised predominantly of names from the latter half of the 1980s onward.
As it is with the current team, there is room for 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders and an inevitable slew of difficult cuts. Those who put forth a valiant WJC transcript but simply came up short on this list are chiefly a testament to the performances of the 23 who made the cut and are presented as follows.
In each of two ventures to the WJC, Roenick topped the American scoring chart, once when he was 17 going on 18 and again when he was 18 going on 19.
Between 1987-88 and 1988-89, Roenick accumulated a 13-12-25 scoring log in 14 total World Junior contests. He made a substantial contribution in 1988 while still a senior at Thayer Academy, and his 16 points led all participants from all countries in the 1989 tournament.
In 2004-05, Kessel was young enough to play in the 18-and-under edition of the World Championships and good enough to play in the 20-and-under edition.
He managed to play in both that year, pitching in four goals and six points for the Americans in the WJC. Returning to that tournament at the age of 18 in 2005-06, he led all participating skaters with 10 assists and 11 points.
Kessel’s final World Junior log: 14 games played, five goals, 12 assists, 17 points, and all before he was NHL draft-eligible.
The year after the Minnesota North Stars selected him first overall, Modano was second only to Roenick on the WJC leaderboard with 15 points. In all, he logged 10 goals and 10 helpers over 14 career games.
Schroeder managed three WJC tournament journeys, eclipsing a full point-per-game average in all three of those years. By the time he maxed out his eligibility, he had charged up 27 points, including 20 assists, in 19 games.
Prior to his draft year in 2007, van Riemsdyk made barely a dewdrop of impact with a solitary goal in seven WJC games.
It was a decidedly different story in his next two appearances, at which point his development was under the scrutiny of the Philadelphia Flyers. Van Riemsdyk led the tournament with 11 points in 2007-08 and the U.S. with six strikes the following year for a final 12-10-22 transcript in 19 career games.
The results speak for themselves as the linemates constituted the top three point-getters on the team in both of their WJC excursions together. For Wilson’s part, he led the Americans with six goals in six games in 2008 and ultimately amassed a 9-7-16 scoring transcript in 12 WJC games.
As part of his reputation as the “Can’t-Miss Kid,” Carpenter took leave from his high school team to join the Amerks in the 1981 tournament, where he averaged a goal per game and tallied a 5-4-9 scoring log.
It would be his lone WJC excursion as he was chosen third overall by the Washington Capitals the following offseason and hit the ice sprinting in the NHL.
The physically overwhelming McDonagh tied the more offensive-oriented Kevin Shattenkirk and forward Mitch Wahl for the team lead with a plus-five rating in his lone WJC in 2008-09. That was hardly a fluke, seeing as he has since finished second or first in that category on the 2009-10 Wisconsin Badgers, the 2010-11 New York Rangers and the 2011-12 Rangers.
Carlson completed his spot-on point-per-game output and clinched the gold medal for the Americans on a single overtime shot against Canada on Jan. 5, 2010. He finished his only WJC appearance with seven points and a plus-eight rating
Suter put in three World Junior appearances, including a run to gold in 2003-04. In all, he logged 20 games played, a 3-10-13 scoring transcript and a plus-eight rating
After excelling primarily on the defensive front in his first two tournaments, his output of seven assists and eight points was one of the bright spots when the U.S. failed to defend its title at Grand Forks in 2004-05
Before he was chosen first overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2006 and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, Johnson had a relatively rocky first fling at the World Juniors. He did notch four points from the point, but also brooked a minus-four rating.
One year later, though, he tied two others for the tournament lead with 10 points and tied Nathan Gerbe and Peter Mueller for the team lead with a plus-three rating. In turn, he finished his amateur career with 14 points in as many games with the U.S. U-20 squad.
When Canada’s Taylor Hall drew a 3-3 knot in the 2010 championship game with 13:56 gone in the second period, Campbell came on in relief of Mike Lee. For the ensuing 40 minutes and 35 seconds, he repelled 32 out of 34 Canadian shots, including three in overtime before Carlson won the title at the other end.
Campbell finished that tournament with a .923 save percentage, the third best among goalies appearing in more than two games. The following year, he was the best among multi-gamers with a 1.70 goals-against average and .941 save percentage and went 5-1-0.