Today, USA Hockey announced its 23-player roster for the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. This year the WJC will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia from Dec. 26, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019.
K’Andre Miller, the New York Rangers 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, made the team. Last year, Miller had three points in seven games at the WJC-18. Unfortunately, fellow defensive prospect Joey Keane — who the Rangers selected in the 3rd round at 88th overall — did not make the cut.
Keane has 20 points in 29 games with the Barrie Colts (WHL) this season after posting 44 points in 62 games last season. Corey Pronman of The Athletic mentioned Keane in his World Junior Championship Preview for Team USA on Dec. 20. So, it is a little disappointing to see Keane fail to make the cut.
Miller has been stealing the show in his freshman season at the University of Wisconsin. He has four goals and 13 assists in 18 games and has 12 PIM. Like Keane, he was also profiled in Pronman’s World Junior Championship Preview — and for good reason.
Miller is tied for seventh in scoring among defensemen in the nation and is Wisconsin’s current top scorer. He’s been on the ice for more GF at even strength and on the penalty kill than any other Badger and 11 of his 17 points have come at even strength. Miller is also leading the Badgers in game-winning goals and primary points. That’s pretty impressive for someone who is a recent convert to defense.
“We’ve said from day one that this is a selection process, and as a staff we’re thrilled with the 23 players selected to represent the United States in one of the greatest tournaments on the hockey calendar,” John Vanbiesbrouck, general manager of the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team, shared in the program’s press release. “By no means did we come to this decision easily, and that’s a credit to the players. It’s easy to say our talent pool is deeper than it’s ever been, but so too is the character of these young players, and now it’s time for these 23 selected players to come together and represent our country with pride.”