In a bit of a surprising development, Boston Bruins prospect Johnny Beecher will not be playing for Team USA at the World Junior Championships later this month.
The Bruins 2019 first round pick was on the preliminary roster released last week, but it looks like the rugged 6-foot-3, 210-pound center was one of the final cuts to the USA Hockey group that’s going to compete in Edmonton starting on Christmas Day. Beecher was expected to be a bottom-6 center on Team USA that would have been more utilized for checking, penalty killing and defense for a talented American group, but now it looks like that won’t be the case for Boston’s top prospect under the age of 20 years old.
Beecher played on Team USA in the World Junior tourney last year and still owed the IIHF a one-game suspension for a boarding play against Team Finland in the quarter-finals of last season’s tournament.
Here’s the final world junior roster competing for Team USA:
Here is Team USA’s final roster for the #WorldJuniors. Cuts:
– Returning F John Beecher (BOS)
– D Cam McDonald
– F Thomas Bordeleau (SJS)
– No Nick Robertson (TOR) officially pic.twitter.com/6YLvtehhGr
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 12, 2020
There will absolutely be a New England flavor to Team USA with Stoneham, Mass. native Sam Colangelo, Boston College stars Spencer Knight and Matt Boldy and Providence College head coach Nate Leaman all headed to Edmonton. So, there will still be a reason to watch the World Junior tournament over the holidays from a B’s fan perspective.
But this leaves the Boston Bruins with just a couple of marginal prospects in the entire World Junior tournament in the form of 2019 sixth round pick Matias Mantykivi on Team Finland and Russian defenseman Roman Bychkov (fifth rounder in 2019).
The 19-year-old Beecher has a goal and two points in eight games along with a minus-4 for the University of Michigan thus far this season, and has shown the elite skating speed, ideal size, physicality and aggressiveness for the Wolverines this season that made him a first-round pick for the Boston Bruins in the first place. It’s unfortunate that Beecher won’t be participating in the tournament, but the Boston Globe reported that it was because of a positive COVID-19 test this weekend just ahead of the final cuts.