Merrill named to U.S. preliminary roster
Devils' prospect will attend training camp for 2011 World Jr. team
|Merrill, a 6-3 defenseman, was taken 38th overall by the Devils in 2010.|
Team USA, which earned its second gold medal and first since 2004 following a stunning 6-5 overtime win against Canada in last year's gold-medal game in Saskatoon, will look to defend the crown on home soil beginning with preliminary-round action Dec. 26. The U.S. opens against Finland at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 26 at HSBC Arena. They'll also play Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany during the preliminary round. The quarterfinals will be played Jan. 2 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET; the semifinals on Jan. 3 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The bronze-medal game will be Jan. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET; and the gold-medal game will be played Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET. All knockout-round games will be played at HSBC Arena and broadcast on NHL Network-U.S. and TSN.
Team USA's training camp will take place in Troy, Rochester and Amherst, N.Y., Dec. 17-23, and will include pre-tournament games against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men's ice hockey team Dec. 19, the Czech Republic on Dec. 21 and Norway on Dec. 23.
|TEAM USA WJC CAMP ROSTER
GOALTENDERS -- Jack Campbell, Windsor Spitfires, OHL (Dallas); Andy Iles, Cornell University, ECAC (2011 Draft eligible).
DEFENSEMEN -- Adam Clendening, Boston University, HE (2011 Draft eligible); Brian Dumoulin, Boston College, HE (Carolina); Justin Faulk, Minnesota-Duluth, WCHA (Carolina); Derek Forbort, North Dakota, WCHA (Los Angeles); Nick Leddy, Rockford, AHL (Chicago); Jonathon Merrill, Michigan, CCHA (New Jersey); Jamieson Oleksiak, Northeastern, HE (2011 Draft eligible); John Ramage, Wisconsin, WCHA (Calgary); Philip Samuelsson, Boston College, HE (Pittsburgh); Patrick Wey, Boston College, HE (Washington).
FORWARDS -- Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota, WCHA (Florida); Ryan Bourque, Quebec, QMJHL (N.Y. Rangers); Connor Brickley, Vermont, HE (Florida); Chris Brown, Michigan, CCHA (Phoenix); Mitchell Callahan, Kelowna, WHL (Detroit); Charlie Coyle, Boston University, HE (San Jose); Jerry D'Amigo, Toronto, AHL (Toronto); Emerson Etem, Medicine Hat, WHL (Anaheim); Rocco Grimaldi, USNTDP, USHL (2011 Draft eligible); Chris Kreider, Boston College, HE (N.Y. Rangers); Jeremy Morin, Rockford, AHL (Chicago); Brock Nelson, North Dakota, WCHA (N.Y. Islanders); Matthew Nieto, Boston University, HE (2011 Draft eligible); Kyle Palmieri, Syracuse, AHL (Anaheim); Brandon Saad, Saginaw, OHL (2011 Draft eligible); Drew Shore, Denver, WCHA (Florida); Jason Zucker, Denver, WCHA (Minnesota).
Among those returnees are goalie Jack Campbell of the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires, who was in goal when the U.S. won the gold this past January. Also coming back to defend the gold are defenseman John Ramage of the University of Wisconsin and forwards Ryan Bourque of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Quebec Remparts, Jerry D'Amigo of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies, Chris Kreider of Boston College, Jeremy Morin of the AHL's Rockford IceHogs, Kyle Palmieri of the AHL's Syracuse Crunch and Jason Zucker of the University of Denver.
Campbell appeared in three games last year, finishing 1-2-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. His breakout moment came when he replaced Mike Lee in net for Team USA 3:56 into the second period of the gold-medal game against Canada. He allowed only two goals on 34 shots to help lead the U.S. to victory.
In seven games, Ramage had 3 assists -- including the only assist on John Carlson's overtime goal -- and a plus-5 rating; Bourque had 3 assists and a plus-3 rating; D'Amigo tied Kreider for the team lead with 6 goals and was second with 12 points, along with a plus-7 rating; Kreider had 6 goals, 7 points and a plus-6 rating; Morin had 2 goals, 7 points and a plus-4 rating; Palmieri had 1 goal, 9 points and a plus-8 rating; and Zucker had 2 goals.
Nine players invited to the U.S. camp were taken in the first round of the 2009 or 2010 Draft. From the 2009 class are defenseman Nick Leddy (No. 16, Minnesota), Kreider (No. 19, N.Y. Rangers) and Palmieri (No. 26, Anaheim). Taken this past June were Campbell (No. 11, Dallas), defensemen Derek Forbort (No. 15, Los Angeles), and forwards Nick Bjugstad (No. 19, Florida), Charlie Coyle (No. 28, San Jose), Emerson Etem (No. 29, Anaheim) and Brock Nelson (No. 30, N.Y. Islanders).
Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler, who played on last year's gold medalists, is eligible to play for Team USA but will not as he's a major part of the Anaheim Ducks' blue line. Fowler has 12 points in 23 games and is third on the team with an average ice time 21:57 per game.
Participation by Morin or Palmieri also is questionable as each has been re-called by their NHL teams at some point this season. Palmieri had 1 goal in 10 games during a November recall, while Morin has 1 assist and a plus-2 rating in five games during the season's first two months.
There are several promising 2011 draft prospects on the roster as well, including defensemen Adam Clendening of Boston University and Jamieson Oleksiak of Northeastern University, and forwards Brandon Saad of the OHL's Saginaw Spirit and Rocco Grimaldi of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer