As we creep closer and closer to the start of the 2016 World Junior Championships (22 days away!) countries are announcing their teams. SBN College Hockey had a good projection of a possible roster here.
Today is USA Hockey's turn and the Maple Leafs had a couple of American prospects available for them:
OHL Kitchener Rangers / Boston College
14GP - 4G - 12A - 16P / 5GP - 0G - 3A - 3P
Bracco began the season with Boston College, but left after five games to join the OHL's Kitchener Rangers. At BC he had three assists in five games, but against a younger competition Bracco has four goals and 12 assists, scoring at a 1.14 PPG rate. Bracco played for Team USA at the U17 (11P in 6 games) and the U18 (13P in 7 games), however it seems that USA Hockey has plenty of depth this year and won't be needing Bracco on the roster.
TSN's Bob McKenzie broke the news last night (how is he so good at getting news out of Kitchener?).
OHL London Knights
22GP - 16G - 14A - 30P
Piccinich has less of a history with USA Hockey, playing one game for the U18 team in 2014. He previously played with Boston University in 14/15 scoring one goal and four assist in 25 games. This season with the London Knights he's at 1.36PPG and playing a top 6 role with Team Canada's Mitch Marner.
NCAA Ohio State
8GP - 0G - 3A - 3P
The Leafs only NCAA player who is eligible for the tournament, Joshua hasn't been lighting things up as a freshman for Ohio State, and is still without a goal. He has no USA Hockey history aside from a couple games. He's a long shot to make the team.
All of the players named later today will be in Boston for a pre-tournament camp before USA Hockey makes the official roster announcement. USA Hockey will make the official announcements at 3:30 p.m. today.
USA Hockey also announced that Buffalo will host the 2018 World Junior's, after Montreal/Toronto split hosting duties again next year. The 2018 Juniors will include a special outdoor game on New Years Eve between Canada and The USA.
The 2016 World Juniors kick off at 7 a.m. EST on Saturday, December 26th with Russia taking on the Czech Republic. Team USA's first game is later that day at 1 p.m. EST versus Team Canada.