U-18 defense starts with, well, defense
The red, white and blue in Belarus
By a quirk of scheduling, the two top under-18 tournaments this season ended up in Minsk: an invitational Six Nations tournament completed a few days back and the IIHF worlds in April. The U.S. ended up with a silver at the Six Nations, losing 2-1 to the Russian team in the round robin. Still, from the reviews of NHL scouts returning from that tournament, the U.S. team should go back to Minsk as the favorite to successfully defend the world title it won in Fargo, N.D. last year. I say "should," because USA Hockey will have to be proactive in assembling the best possible roster. And they might need a break or two when it comes to player availability.
To see Gare Joyce's evaluation of the U.S. developmental team, and a few players he believes could be added to the U-18 roster before April's world championships, you must be an ESPN Insider.