Sanderson, Beniers among prospects invited to Olympics: report
Jake Sanderson and Matthew Beniers could be in line to represent Team USA twice in the span of six weeks.
Sanderson, who captained the United States’ entry at the 2022 World Juniors, and Beniers have each been invited to don the red, white and blue at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, according to Frank Seravalli and Chris Peters.
He is having a standout season with the University of North Dakota, with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 15 games. He was held without a point in the one game Team USA played at the World Juniors before it was cancelled because of concerns over COVID-19.
Sanderson, selected in the first round (No. 5) of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators, is one of several teammates from the World Juniors that has been invited.
Beniers, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Seattle Kraken, had one assist in his second go-round at the World Juniors with Team USA. He has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 20 games at the University of Michigan this season.
He also has international experience at the men’s level. He was a member of Team USA at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship last spring, recording two points (one goal, one assist) in six games.
A third World Juniors teammate is on the radar, too.
Defenseman Brock Faber could also be added to the mix, the pair reports. Faber, selected in the second round (No. 45) of the 2020 draft by the Los Angeles Kings, has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 18 games at the University of Minnesota.
Add Matthew Knies to the list, too. Knies, a second round pick (No. 57) in the 2021 draft, has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 18 games alongside Faber at Minnesota, and scored in his lone game at the World Juniors.
Other prospects invited include goaltender Drew Commesso, defenseman Ryan Johnson, and forwards Sean Farrell, Thomas Bordeleau, and Brett Berard.
The NHL and NHLPA agreed to withdraw from the Olympics in December. The decision came as a result of rising cases of COVID-19.
The NHL had until January 10 to pull out of this year’s tournament without penalty.
Team USA is scheduled to open the tournament February 10 against China before facing Canada on February 11. The United States will close the round-robin on February 13 against Germany.