Knierim heads US Junior Select team

Aaron Vickers2016 Draft Center, International Events

Four players eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft will represent the U.S. Junior Select team that will compete in the 2015 World Junior A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, Ont. from Dec. 13-19.

Forwards Willie Knierim, Max Zimmer, and Grant Jozefek and defenseman Andrew Peeke, all eligible for the upcoming draft in June, were selected for the tournament.

Knierim, 17, has three goals and seven points in 13 games in his second season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League, following up a 12-goal, 28-point rookie season.

“He’s a big body forward who skates and moves the puck with power,” Future Considerations’ Jake VanBesien said. “He has an eye for getting pucks to the net, his quick shot release and powerful shot can cause problems for the opposition.”

Zimmer, 17, has two goals and seven points in 16 games as a rookie with the Chicago Steel, and Jozefek, 18, has five goals and 16 points in 16 games with the Lincoln Stars this season, and had four goals and 26 points in 51 games in his rookie season in the USHL.

Peeke, also a rookie, has two goals and nine points in 14 games with the Green Bay Gamblers.

The World Junior A Challenge, in its 10th year, includes two Canadian teams — East and West — as well as four international entries to compete for a gold medal.

Six players selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft participated in the World Junior A Challenge, including Denis Guryanov, Jakub Zboril, Kyle Connor, Evgeni Svechnikov, Ilya Samsonov and Brock Boeser.