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2016 WJC: Ryan Collins and Clayton Keller cut by Team USA

Ryan Collins (6)
Ryan Collins (6)
Tom Sorenson

Team USA made its final two cuts before the 2016 World Juniors, sending University of Minnesota defenseman Ryan Collins and US U-18 forward Clayton Keller (a Boston University commit) home from Finland before the tournament begins December 26.

The cuts leaves the United States roster at 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies).

Collins, a 2014 2nd round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets who was a member of the 2015 WJC team, spent much of camp on the outside or on the fourth pairing. He is one of several returnees from last year's fifth-place finish that head coach Ron Wilson did not choose to keep on the roster.

This is only the second time in 40 World Juniors that a Minnesota player will not be represented at the U-20 tournament and third time (Thomas Vanek represented Austria in 2004) a Gopher is not on Team USA.

Still, Minnesota is happy to get back Collins for the Mariucci Classic on January 1-2.

"Every year's a new team because of ages," head coach Don Lucia said before Collins left. "I hope that he makes it and if not we look forward to having him here at Christmas."

Keller, a native of Swansea, Illinois, leads the U-18 team in scoring (17G-33A for 55 points) but was one of the younger players on the preliminary World Junior camp. The forward is eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft. He was given an "A" rating (1st round pick) by Central Scouting in November.

Team USA begins the 2016 World Juniors on December 26 against defending champion Canada.

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --