Just in case you were having trouble figuring out who played for the NTDP, the roster for the first ever All-American Prospects Game was announced on Wednesday. You can view the roster here. The event will take place September 29th in Buffalo, New York.
With this being the inaugural event, there was a lot of speculation about who would be picked for the roster. I think most people were hoping it would be a chance for some more under-the-radar type players to get noticed early in the season. By that standard, the selected roster looks pretty abysmal. Twenty-three out of the 40 spots went to players that have ties to the NTDP program. I understand wanting to select the best players available, and many of them play for the NTDP, but this is basically a showcase for a program that already has every NHL team watching every game they play anyway.
Rather than sticking with only first-year draft eligible players, USA Hockey also selected nine players that were passed over in the 2012 Draft for this game, including five members from last year's US NTDP U18 team. I guess USA Hockey thought those kids weren't drafted because they just didn't get enough exposure? I can't imagine that much has changed in the past weeks since the Draft, especially with no games being played, to justify those decisions.
It's not as if there were no other options out there either. Some of the omissions--most notably, a number of kids that turned down offers to play for the NTDP program in the '95 age group-- look downright vindictive. For an organization that likes to say they respect and encourage players taking different routes to success in hockey, this event looks like another hammer to hit kids over the head with if they decide not to play for the NTDP. It's a shame that what should be a fun and valuable event is being used more as an opportunity to play politics than to play hockey.