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World Juniors 2024

USA Hockey announces final roster for 2024 World Junior Championships

USA Hockey has wrapped up its 2024 World Junior Selection Camp in Plymouth, Michigan, and announced its 23-player roster for the tournament, set to start on Dec. 26 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

They started Selection Camp with 29 players and, after today's cuts, have reduced the roster to a group of 25 players, though two of them will be going with them to Sweden on the reserved list – Rutger McGroarty is presumably one such player, though it isn't necessarily clear who the second one might be.

McGroarty still isn't fully cleared after being stretchered off the ice on a University of Michigan game with broken ribs and a punctured lung. Throughout camp McGroarty didn't look like an injured player, save for the red non-contact jersey. 

“He was always first to go in a drill; not many injured players go first in a drill," Team USA General Manager John Vanbiesbrouck said. “We were told with his lung that he's really good and with the ribs it's pain management and he looks to be doing well. So good news is he's been operating wisely and we have some time before the tournament starts.” 

Based on how they presented in camp, this is the way we can expect the Americans to construct their roster when the games start to count on Boxing Day.

Unlike the Canadians, who announced their (almost) final roster with one spot left open so that an NHLer might be able to join them somewhere down the road, this American roster is really set. If anything, they might have to send someone home at some point down the road, should one or both of their injured players recover in time to play in the tournament.

There was some uncertainty surrounding defenceman Aram Minnetian's status, with his pending one-game suspension from Hockey East for an incident with Boston College. It sounds as if the IIHF will not force him to sit a game at this tournament, so he's on the active roster and should be available to them when the puck drops on this tournament.

Forwards: Gavin Brindley* (Columbus Blue Jackets), Quinn Finley (New York Islanders), Cutter Gauthier* (Philadelphia Flyers), Gavin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), Isaac Howard (Tampa Bay Lightning), Ryan Leonard (Washington Capitals), Rutger McGroarty (Winnipeg Jets), Oliver Moore (Blackhawks), Frank Nazar (Blackhawks), Danny Nelson (Islanders), Gabriel Perreault (New York Rangers), Will Smith (San Jose Sharks), Jimmy Snuggerud (St. Louis Blues), Carey Terrance (Anaheim Ducks)

Defence: Zeev Buium (2024 NHL Draft), Seamus Casey* (New Jersey Devils), Ryan Chesley* (Capitals), Drew Fortescue (Rangers), Lane Hutson* (Montréal Canadiens), Aram Minnetian (Dallas Stars), Eric Pohlkamp (Sharks), Sam Rinzel (Blackhawks)

Goalies: Trey Augustine* (Detroit Red Wings), Jacob Fowler (Canadiens), Sam Hillebrandt (2024 NHL Draft)

Cuts: James Hagens (2025 NHL Draft), William Whitelaw (Blue Jackets), Patrick Geary (2024 NHL Draft, re-entry), Jake Livanavage (2024 NHL Draft, re-entry)

Well, that's a bummer. It really seemed like Hagens had a decent chance of making this team. Apparently not, He's among the final cuts. This robs the audience of an opportunity to see a truly transcendent talent, someone fighting for the pole position in the 2025 NHL Draft, play up in age group and prove his quality in as high stakes a tournament as can be offered at this age.

Hagens was told before practice on Saturday so he would be available to play for the Under-18 team in a USHL against the Youngstown Phantoms. 

“That's potentially the first overall pick in the NHL Draft (in 2025), so his future is bright as anybody," Vanbiesbrouck said. “My conversation with him was just lets get focused don the U-18 World Championship. And just about everybody to a man, on last year's team, said (U-18 gold) was the biggest moment in their career so far, so let's make it your moment.”

That's great, but couldn't this also be Hagen's moment?

“We just had other guys we are going to use in roles on the offensive side of the puck,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “So he probably wouldn't have gotten as much of an opportunity as another player.” 

Beyond that, there really wasn't much suspense here. There were two undrafted skaters in their ranks, Geary and Livanavage, and both of them were among the final cuts when the bell tolled this morning. Both of them played the left side, and both of them brought skill sets that were more or less redundant – Livanavage especially, as someone who's modelled his game as an offensive defenceman – on this team.

In the same vein, seeing Whitelaw among the final cuts isn't much of a surprise. He's an electric offensive talent, and he put in some excellent work in his country's colours at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky, but he's failed to produce up to his standards at Wisconsin, and it's hard to imagine him flourishing in a depth role with this team with all of the top-six spots accounted for.

Overall, this American group is probably the tournament favourite on paper. They have all the scoring talent in the world, among the deepest, most talented blue lines in the tournament, a cadre of role players that can move up and down the lineup, and a goaltending battery with two capable starters, each of which could bring home Best Goalie award honours.

For a more thorough review of Team USA’s roster, we’ve tagged in Elite Prospects. American regional scout Joey Padmanabhan for his take on the group that they’ll take with them to Sweden:

USA Hockey announced its final roster for the upcoming World Junior Tournament today, reducing the roster size from 29 to 25 players. Ultimately James Hagens, Jake Livanavage, William Whitelaw, and Patrick Geary who didn’t make the cut.

Hagens is the most notable subtraction from the roster; he’s a likely top-three pick in 2025 and has been exceptional for the U18 NTDP squad this season despite a late birthday. However, with a wealth of seasoned, physically mature talent in front of him, Hagens may not have played a ton for the Americans anyway. Luckily, he’ll only have to wait a year before he gets his shot to compete for World Juniors gold.

With a wealth of scoring threats and a need for two-way ability down the lineup, Whitelaw saw himself on the outside looking in, as did Livanavage, whose offensive prowess and power play expertise aren’t as valuable on a roster with Hutson, Casey, and Buium.

This is a really strong American squad that looks like an arguable favourite to win it all. At the very least, they have so much firepower that they’ll be a treat to watch.

You may also be interested in:
Hockey Canada 2024 World Junior Selection Camp Notebook
Hockey Canada 2024 World Junior Selection Camp Notebook
This article is about:
World Juniors 2024 USA U20 WJC-20 Patrick Geary James Hagens Jake Livanavage William Whitelaw
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