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13 NHL prospects on United States Olympic roster

The 25-player roster consists of 15 NCAA gamers.

“It’s awesome,” Beniers mentioned Thursday. “I think it speaks volumes to how good college hockey is, and not just one league [the NCAA]. It’s pretty much across three or four different leagues; you see guys from each league coming to this team. There’s a lot of great players, and college hockey is really good. I think it gets overlooked sometimes. But it’s tough, it’s big, it’s hard and it’s fast. It’s hard and it prepares you well for the next level.”

Beniers, chosen No. 2 by the Seattle Kraken within the 2021 NHL Draft, has scored 26 factors (12 targets, 14 assists) in 22 video games as a sophomore on the University of Michigan. He is the seventh youngest participant named to the United States Olympic males’s group (19 years, two months, eight days).

“I’m just so honored, humbled and exited for this experience to play for the Olympic team,” Beniers mentioned. “It’s something every kid growing up, as a hockey player, dreams of. You watch the movie “Miracle”, you watch the Olympics every time you get a chance, and just being named to this team is an honor. I’m so excited and can’t wait to get started with these teammates and coaches and hopefully bring back gold.”

Sanderson, the No. 5 choose by the Ottawa Senators in 2020 NH Draft, ranks second amongst defensemen in NCAA Division I ice hockey with 22 factors (six targets, 16 assists) in 17 video games as a sophomore on the University of North Dakota. He is the tenth youngest participant named to the United States group (19 years, six months, 5 days).

Mark Howe (16 years, eighth months, seven days) is the youngest participant to signify the United States. He received a silver medal on the 1972 Sapporo Olympics in Japan.

“You have two elite players at two different positions and Sanderson brings an awful lot to the table; he’s as well-rounded a defenseman as there is playing college hockey,” coach David Quinn mentioned. “We think he’s going to do a lot for us. I know [Beniers] a little better … I tried to recruit him to BU before I left BU. It amazes me how much better he’s gotten in that time and he was a [heck] of a player then. 

“You’re two guys that play 200 toes, and the good half about it’s these guys are expert gamers with a hardness to their recreation who’re dedicated to enjoying in all three zones, and that is why they had been drafted the place they had been, and that is why they will be massive components of the group we’ve got, and that is why they have nice futures within the NHL.”

The other NHL prospects to make the roster are forwards Brendan Brisson (No. 29, Vegas Golden Knights, 2020), Nick Abruzzese (No. 124, Toronto Maple Leafs, 2019 NHL Draft), Noah Cates (No. 137, Philadelphia Flyers, 2017 NHL Draft), Sean Farrell (No. 124, Montreal Canadiens, 2020), Sam Hentges (No. 210, Minnesota Wild, 2018 NHL Draft), Matthew Knies (No. 57, Maple Leafs, 2021) and Nathan Smith (No. 91, Winnipeg Jets, 2018); defensemen Brock Faber (No. 45, Los Angeles Kings, 2020), Drew Helleson (No. 47, Colorado Avalanche, 2019), and Nick Perbix (No. 169, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2017); and goalie Drew Commesso (No. 46, Chicago Blackhawks, 2020).

The NHL announced Dec. 22 its players would not participate in the 2022 Olympics due to the regular-season schedule being disrupted as a result of increasing COVID-19 cases and a rising number of postponed games. As of Thursday, 104 games had been postponed. 

The rest of the forwards selected by the United States are Kenny Agostino (Torpedo, Kontinental Hockey League), Marc McLaughlin (Boston College, NCAA), Ben Meyers (Minnesota, NCAA), Andy Miele (Torpedo, KHL), Brian O’Neill (Jokerit, KHL) and Nick Shore (Novosibirsk, KHL).

Defensemen selected were Brian Cooper (IK Oskarshamn, Swedish Hockey Leagu), Steven Kampfer (Ak Bars Kazan, KHL), Aaron Ness (Providence, American Hockey League), and David Warsofsky (Ingolstadt, Germany). The two other goalies are Strauss Mann (Skelleftea, SHL) and Pat Nagle (Lehigh Valley, AHL). 

“We’re excited in regards to the combine,” Quinn said. “I believe we have got an awesome mix of youth and expertise, guys which have performed within the Olympics earlier than. The challenges are you are throwing 25 gamers collectively in a brief time period and making an attempt to turn into a cohesive unit in a small window, however our guys go searching and so they see the roster and so they really feel very assured within the group that we’ve got, and we actually really feel that we have chosen the precise group to go over there and win the gold medal”

The United States will play preliminary spherical video games in Group A with Canada, Germany and China. It opens the 2022 Olympics towards China on Feb. 10.

NHL.com workers author Mike G. Morreale contributed to this report

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