Photo credit: USA Hockey
Washington Capitals prospect Riley Barber has been named captain of Team USA for the upcoming World Junior Championships, per USA Hockey.
Barber, who is set to play on the first line with Danny O’Reagan and Nicolas Kerdiles, is one of just three returnees from last years’ gold medal-winning squad.
Barber’s captaincy means one Caps prospect has been a team captain at each of the last three WJC tournaments. One year ago, Filip Forsberg was captain of Team Sweden. In the 2012 tournament, Evgeny Kuznetsov led Team Russia.
A late cut from the 2013 team, defenseman Matt Grzelczyk, and energy forward Andrew Copp will be the alternates.
The announcement came shortly after Americans’ 3-2 win over Finland in a pre-tournament exhibition game in which Barber and another Caps prospect DiPauli recorded assists on goals by O’Reagan and Brady Skjei respectively.
After the game, Team USA made two cuts, sending forwards Henrik Samuelsson and Brett Pesce back home. Their roster is now down to 24, which means they need to cut one more player before the tournament.
The Caps’ late-round 2012 picks Barber and Connor Carrick are locks to make the roster. DiPauli, on the other hand, was considered a bubble player before camp. He played left wing on the fourth line on Sunday in a line-up featuring 13 forwards (LW Zach Stepan was the extra player). It may very well be that these two are the candidates for the final cut.