Now that USA Hockey has won gold at the 2021 World Junior Championship, attention turns to who the Americans will bring back to Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, for next year’s marquee event on the junior calendar.
USA Hockey has never won back-to-back gold medals at world juniors, and doing so in 2022 will be a tall order. MVP Trevor Zegras and his 27 career points at the tournament will have aged out, as will star goaltender Spencer Knight (Darien, Conn.) and other key offensive players such as Matthew Boldy (Millis, Mass.), Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Turcotte.
The 2001 birth year was a special one for the U.S., so losing that group will prove challenging to replace. The ’02 class isn’t anywhere near as strong. The ’03 class is a little better, but the next real good American birth year is 2004.