One of three returning players for the US, Riley Barber will be relied upon leadership and scoring (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Three Washington Capitals draft picks have been selected to participate in USA Hockey’s World Juniors training camp, which will be held in Minneapolis this month. It will determine who will represent the country in Malmo, Sweden this winter.
Forwards Thomas DiPauli and Riley Barber, as well as defenseman Connor Carrick (all drafted by the Caps in 2012) are up for roster spots.
Barber is a lock for the WJC barring an injury. Without the stars of last year’s gold-winning team — Alex Galchenyuk, Jacob Trouba, and Seth Jones — USA’s camp roster features just three returning players — Barber, Ryan Hartman, and goalie Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz is expected to be a back-up goalie at the tournament. However, Barber, the Caps’ sixth-round pick, will have a huge role on this year’s team. After playing in a more complementary first-line role with Galchenyuk and Sean Kuraly last year, Barber, one of the best forwards in college hockey, should become the main scoring threat for the United States this time around.
Carrick, too, made a giantic leap in the past year. After getting an extended look with the Caps and staying with the organization instead heading back to the OHL, Carrick is one of the most experienced players on this team. He’s also one of two players playing professional hockey along with the Devils prospect Stefan Matteau. This team will need Carrick’s speed and playmaking ability to start the rushes and work efficiently on the power play, so expect him to be one of the key contributors for the reigning champions.
DiPauli is under-the-radar prospect. His stat line with University of Notre Dame is pedestrian, but DiPauli does a lot of work that goes unnoticed. He’s a shifty forward that brings energy and is a very sound defensive player, playing on the penalty kill. DiPauli puts pressure on opponents and disrupts their offensive flow by jumping in passing lanes. If he wins the battle for one of the bottom-line spots on Team USA, expect to see him on the PK a lot and playing as an energy line forward.