Unlike the Canadian national junior team it seems the American equivalent values Rangers prospects.
Looking to defend the WJC title they won in thrilling style against Canada last year, USA announced that Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque will return as part of the roster. Other key players on the team include goalie Jack Campbell and Jeremy Morin. Obviously, not part of the side is key center Derek Stepan who’s enjoying his rookie year with the Rangers. Forwards Bourque and Kreider both played large roles on last years side and will once again be counted on as USA look to win gold for the second time in a row. Last year Kreider arguably had his coming out party as a prospect – at the WJC – scoring key goals throughout the tournament while Bourque was a huge part of an effective penalty killing side.
This year’s tourney will be important for both players but in different ways. Kreider – rated the Rangers’ top prospect – has had a slow start to his year but has recently picked it up. The Boston college winger will look to use the tournament to prove he’s ready for the pro game next season by dominating both physically and offensively. Bourque meanwhile will look to prove he can score at the higher level and isn’t just a checking forward at higher levels. Quebec winger Bourque is also perhaps not given the dues that his talent level is deserving of because of his size and injury history. A strong WJC would put him firmly in the focus and legitimize him as a top prospect for the Rangers. The WJC will be interesting to watch once more for Ranegrs fans.