With less than a month to go until the start of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta, USA Hockey announced the 29 players who were named to the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team’s preliminary roster.
Among the 29 players, Buffalo Sabres defensive prospect Ryan Johnson has been named to Team USA’s preliminary roster for a second consecutive year.
Johnson just missed out on making the 2020 roster of the IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic, where the United States ended up finishing sixth in the tournament.
The first round pick (31st overall) of the Sabres in the 2019 NHL Draft did not have the most productive season last year with just eight assists in 37 games as a freshman at the University of Minnesota. However, he’s off to a decent start to the 2020-21 season with the Golden Gophers, where he already has three assists in four games.
Johnson is among nine defensemen named to the U.S. preliminary roster for the 2021 World Juniors tournament, and is one of three former first round picks on the blue line. The other two first rounders heading to camp for the Americans includes Philadelphia Flyers prospect Cam York (2019) and Ottawa Senators prospect Jake Sanderson (2020).
Overall, the U.S. has 10 players from last year’s World Juniors roster returning to camp this year to compete for a roster spot on the 2021 team. In total, the United States has 10 former first round picks in the NHL Draft on the preliminary roster for the upcoming tournament.
USA Hockey’s camp for the 2021 World Juniors will take place in Plymouth, Michigan starting Sunday, Dec. 6.
Other Sabres prospects that could be seen playing at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship this December and January include 2019 first round pick Dylan Cozens (Canada), 2020 first round pick Jack Quinn (Canada), and 2020 second round pick J-J Peterka (Germany).