USA Hockey announced its cut-down, 27-man preliminary roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship tournament, which begins next week. Four Blackhawks prospects made the cut, and each brings a unique skillset to the table.
Chris Peters, who we’ve leaned on earlier this summer looking ahead to the 2022 NHL Draft and who does magnificent work analyzing prospects now at flohockey.tv broke down the slimmed-down roster earlier on Monday with analysis on each player remaining.
Here’s what he had to say about the four Blackhawks prospects who are still on the list:
Dominic James, F
“A real surprise addition to Team USA in the winter after going undrafted two years in a row, James was not passed over a third time a few weeks back when Chicago selected him in the sixth round. He’s a bit of a spark plug as he plays with jump and creates problems for the opposition with his speed. James isn’t a particularly big player, but he gets into the physical elements of the game and is always going with speed. He was on the roster last winter in more of a depth role and likely fills that same role this time around.”
Frank Nazar, F
“Another one of the players that was not on the team in the winter, Nazar has a good chance to be on the final 25-man roster this summer. Nazar, who was selected 13th overall in the 2022 NHL Draft, brings quickness and skill. Though he’s a natural center, he may find himself on the wing for this particular team. The Americans need to be fast and Nazar is a good example of a player that uses his speed as a weapon. The 5-foot-9 forward had 70 points for the U.S. National Under-18 Team last season brings a dynamic element to USA’s middle-six.”
Landon Slaggert, F
“Another of the players that experienced winning gold in 2021, Slaggert’s work ethic and physicality make him one of the toughest players to play against on this team. He just doesn’t get outworked and can deliver hard body checks. Despite those key elements of his game, Slaggert showed at Notre Dame last season that he can score, too, which he also did in USA’s only game at the WJC before it was canceled in December.”
Wyatt Kaiser, D
“Mobility is probably one of the key attributes of USA’s blue line and Kaiser is one of those players whose skating sets the foundation of his game. He’s a mature defender, who doesn’t get beaten easily and can make an impact in the offensive zone as well. He moves pucks well out of the zone, but likely won’t be a major producer in this tournament. Instead, Kaiser will likely be getting some key matchups and helping USA shut down top lines.”