Wisconsin sophomore Luke Kunin has been named as a member of the Team USA World Juniors roster.
This season for the Badgers, Kunin has scored a team-leading nine goals and registered five assists for a team second-best total of 14 points. He is a very sharp offensive player who will join some of the most talented young hockey players in America at the tournament in Toronto in late December.
Kunin has played on the international stage before, as the captain of the U18 team for the IIHF World Championship. Don Granato served as the coach for that team, and they went on to win the tournament. Kunin played all seven games, scoring six goals as the captain of the team.
Kunin is the first Badger to make the roster since 2014, and is the 15th to make the roster since 2005. Forward Nicolas Kerdiles was the most recent to represented the University of Wisconsin for Team USA, registering two goals and five assists in just five games.
Jake McCabe participated in the tournament in 2013, scoring three goals and dishing three assists in seven games. He was the first Badger to register a point on the international stage since 2010, when three Badgers combined for a total of 21 points for Team USA. John Ramage and Jake Gardiner each accounted for three assists in the tournament, while future NHL standout Derek Stepan led the tournament with five goals and 10 assists. He also lead The United States to its first win since 2004. Stepan logged a goal and an assist in the championship game.
Cody Goloubef was the most recent Badger to represent team Canada on the world stage, registering one assist and an impressive +10 as Canada won the tournament for a fifth year in a row in 2009. Veteran Rangers captain and former all-star defenseman Ryan McDonagh played for team USA that year, registering 5 assists and a team best +5.
Kyle Turris played well in 2008 for the Canadian team that won the tournament, scoring four goals and four assists. He has found success with the Ottawa Senators of the NHL in recent years, and currently has 18 points in 26 games this year.
Jamie McBain and Blake Geoffrion both represented the University of Wisconsin on Team USA in both 2007 and 2008. Geoffrion registered an assist in both tournaments, while McBain only got one in 2008.
Jack Skille also participated in two tournaments. Between 2006-2007, Skille scored three goals and dished five assists in 14 games.
In 2005 the Badgers had three representatives for team USA. Ryan Suter, although not at UW at the time, recorded eight points in seven games for team USA. Jeff Likens passed for four assists and Jake Dowell registered another three. The 15 total points was the second best output in the last 15 years.
Luke Kunin has a lot to live up to, and still has to make the 23-man roster, which is currently set at 27 players. This will be a tough task, but Kunin has the skill to make the team and continue his spectacular play on the world stage.