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World Juniors Tryout Roster Announced

USA Hockey has announced their list of 45 players that will attend a tryout camp for the 2007 World Junior Championships this winter. Here's a link to USA Hockey's release.

Last year, I tried picking my own team when the rosters were announced, and I've decided to try and continue that tradition this season.

Goalies:
Jeff Frazee
Joe Palmer

Comments: Frazee was picked to be the starter for this team last season, when he was chosen as the back-up to Cory Schneider, but most people know about how struggles at Minnesota last season when he saw little playing time and had his work ethic publicly questioned by coach Don Lucia. I really like Joe Palmer though, and think he'll be the one to receive the majority of the playing time.

Defenseman:
Jack Johnson
Erik Johnson
Brian Lee
Taylor Chorney
Mark Mitera
Brian Strait
Kevin Montgomery

Comments: This is kind of cut and dry since 5 of these guys were on the World Junior team last season, and it's pretty rare when a player makes the team one year and not the following year. I think that if you were picking the best possible team, Zach Jones should be there over Taylor Chorney or Kevin Montgomery, but the two things USA Hockey values are experience, and getting young players experience. Thus, no Jones.

Forwards:
Peter Mueller
Phil Kessel
Nate Gerbe
Bobby Ryan
Jack Skille
Kyle Okposo
Pat Kane
Ryan Stoa
Bill Sweatt
Trevor Lewis
Blake Geoffrion
Mike Carman
Justin Abdelkader

Comments: All of these guys are either easy gimme picks, or complete guesses. The first five guys listed were all on the team last year, and all had pretty good seasons last year, so they're easy picks. I think Okposo and Kane are guarantees too. Sweatt and Lewis help give Team USA a little speed, while Stoa, Geoffrion, Carman, and Abdelakder give them a little more grit. I probably would have put Mike Forney on here if he hadn't injured his leg. I think that sets him back in his development enough that they'd be better served with someone else. I gave Sweatt the nod over Rau as well since Sweatt can play next season.

Overall: I think this is going to be a very good team. And not like last year's "very good team" which totally sucked. The biggest weakness on this team will be the goaltending. Frazee will have to pull things together or Palmer will have to really step up. The good news is that there should be a guy with the surname Johnson on the ice at all times. The US should be able to consistently play six defenseman. Last year, they could only afford to play the same 3 or 4 defenseman the whole game, and they ran out of gas.

The key for the forwards will be the success of Kessel, Mueller, and Bobby Ryan. I'm not sure who else will be able to score goals for this US team, so they'll need a big tournament from their superstars.

I think this team has the potential to finish with a medal in this tournament, and I'll be disappointed if they don't. I'm not sure what the roster for some of the other hockey powers will look like, but this should be one of the better US teams in the past couple years.