After finishing up their final two pre-tournament exhibitions earlier today with a 3-2 win over Finland, Team USA announced two of the final three cuts they will have to make before tournament begins on December 26th.
Forward Henrik Samuelsson and defenseman Brett Pesce were released from the team, bringing the American roster down to 21 skaters. One more forward will be released before the official tournament roster must be submitted on Christmas day.
Samuelsson was considered at one time to be a lock for this year's World Juniors team, but his development has stagnated a bit in recent years, and he really struggled to find a niche within this group of players.
Pesce was one of the defensemen considered on the chopping block heading over to Sweden, and his fate likely seemed sealed when he was the odd man out during the Finland exhibition. Pesce would have provided a solid, reliable defensive defenseman, but with Steve Santini already filling that role, and reportedly playing quite well in the exhibitions in Sweden, there wasn't room for Pesce.
One more forward will have to go home to make the roster official, and once again, the US may be waiting to get a better picture of the health of some of their players before making a decision. Adam Erne and Tyler Motte sat out both exhibition games with what was described as an illness. This report out of Quebec, however, claims that Erne texted his junior coach to say that he may have suffered a concussion, and that they were still awaiting tests to confirm that diagnosis.
The US also announced their captains for the tournament. Miami's Riley Barber will wear the 'C,' while Boston University's Matt Grzelcyk and Michigan's Andrew Copp will be the alternate captains.