USA Hockey announced Wednesday that Wisconsin center Nic Kerdiles is one of 26 players named to the preliminary roster for the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team that will participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden.
The final roster for the tournament will include 23 players, meaning two forwards and one defenseman are still going to be cut from the roster.
"We're excited about the group of players we've invited to camp," said Jim Johannson, former Badger, general manager of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team and assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "There will be some tough decisions in getting to the final roster, but that's certainly a good problem to have."
The 26 players will participate in a training camp Dec. 15-18 at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, with preparations continuing in Angelholm, Sweden, before the final 23-man roster is announced Dec. 23.
Kerdiles, who is no stranger to international competition after winning two U-18 gold medals with Team USA during his time at the NTDP, is considered a lock for the roster according to Chris Peters from the United States of Hockey blog.
"Perhaps Kerdiles would have been on last year's team had he not had to miss the first 10 games of Wisconsin's season. There are no issues this time and Kerdiles should be a lock to make the team. He is playing center for Wisconsin this season, but I see him as a point-producing winger for Team USA this year. He has 10 points in 10 games and was Wisconsin's best player when he returned to action last season. He should play on one of the top two lines and be looked to for considerable production. Kerdiles is a strong skater with really good finish around the net. He's not a make-you-miss kind of guy with his puck skills, but he is strong on the puck and has good vision. Kerdiles also has some good defensive capabilities if needed."
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