University of Minnesota sophomore defenseman Ryan Collins is one of 29 players to make the preliminary United States roster for the 2016 U-20 World Junior Championship.
The 19 year-old Collins, who has 3 assists in 13 games this season with Minnesota, was the only Gopher to attend a summer camp this year. The sophomore has been mostly used on a pairing with Nick Seeler this season and the defensive defenseman is used in all situations.
US camp runs from December 15-18 in Boston, MA. Provided he makes the roster, Minnesota will be without Collins for the Mariucci Classic against UConn and either Ferris State or Harvard January 1-2.
Collins. a 2014 2nd round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, was a member of the 2015 US team that finished fifth in the ten-team tournament in Toronto and Montreal. He spent the tournament playing as the team's sixth and seventh defenseman. The Bloomington, MN native will likely have a larger role this time around for Team USA head coach Ron Wilson in his final year of WJC eligibility.
Other players with Minnesota ties on the roster are forwards Kieffer Bellows (Edina/US U-18 team - BU commit), Paul Bittner (Crookston/Portland - WHL), Brock Boeser (Burnsville/North Dakota), and defenseman Will Borgen (Moorhead/St. Cloud State).
With the exception of 1992, every edition of the WJC has featured at least one Gopher player. Hudson Fasching (USA) and Leon Bristedt (Sweden), in addition to Collins, participated in the 2015 tournament.
You can view the full roster here.
The 2016 World Junior Championship runs from December 26, 2015 to January 5, 2016 in Helsinki, Finland.
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 -- Follow @gopherstate