We're just a few weeks away from one of the most exciting tournaments in hockey, as the 2024 World Junior Championship is set to take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, beginning on Dec. 26 and running through Jan. 5. Team USA released their preliminary rosters today, with two NY Islanders prospects making the list.
Quinn Finley (3rd round, 78th overall in 2022) and Danny Nelson (2nd round, 149th overall in 2023) have been named to the 29-man preliminary roster, which must be cut to 25 before heading overseas.
Finley is in his freshman season with the Wisconsin Badgers, totaling four goals and two assists through 16 games. He last represented the US during the World Junior A Challenge last year, potting two goals and adding four assists on the USA's road to the gold medal.
Nelson, also a freshman, is playing at the University of Notre Dame and has been off to a red-hot start. Playing with the USNTDP last season, Nelson played third-line center minutes behind first-round picks Will Smith and Oliver Moore. Out from their shadows, Nelson is seeing top-6 minutes for the Fighting Irish, benefitting from the extra ice time. Through 16 games, Nelson has three goals and 11 assists, as his 14 points are second most for Notre Dame.
If either were to make the final roster and head to Sweden, they'd be the first Islanders draft picks to represent the Stars and Stripes at the WJC since Oliver Wahlstrom did so in consecutive years in 2019-19 and 2019-20.
Though he's not an Islanders prospect, joining Finley and Nelson is 2025 top overall prospect and Long Island native James Hagens. Hagens, who grew up an Islanders fan, is the youngest player on the preliminary roster, being named ahead of players like Cole Eiserman, who is projected to go in the top three at the 2024 NHL Draft.
The USA will open the tournament against newly promoted Norway, followed by games with Switzerland, Czechia, and Slovakia.