Michigan's first line center will once again be heading to the world juniors, as the USA released their preliminary roster today. Four other Wolverines will be joining Mr. Beecher in the hopes of representing the States in Edmonton.
It’s a good sign for Beecher, but also an opportunity he shouldn’t waste: It took him a little under a week to go from top line to depth player at last year’s world juniors, and wasn’t even the Bruins prospect who scored at that tournament. A lot of his stock plummeted right afterwards, so this is a good chance for him to build it back up. With the Wolverines, who’ve started late thanks to You Already Know Why, he has 1 goal in 6 games.
As for whether or not he’s going is up for debate. 7th ranked Michigan already put a hard no on young gun defensive wunderkind Owen Power going to the World Juniors, so it’s unknown if they’ll be able to pull rank on Beecher as well. Further, any positive COVID test would effectively erase his ability to make it due to the IIHF taking a pretty hard stance on testing and quarantine. If he can’t be there for next monday as the official camps begin, then he’s not going.
This brings the number of B’s prospects at the WJC up to two, but there could be a third in the wings: Finnish forward Matias Mantykivi was on Finland’s last U20 friendly team, but that happened back on the 5th, so who knows what internal cuts Leijonat has already made.
Regardless, congrats to Johnny, and we cannot stress this enough: Go out there and show ‘em what you’re made of, kid!