By Kirk Luedeke
Cornell University forward Brian Ferlin was one of 29 players named by USA Hockey to the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team preliminary team Monday.
The fourth-round selection of the Boston Bruins in last June’s NHL Entry Draft was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and if he makes the final 22-man roster (determined on the 22nd of this month), would be the first Sunshine State-trained native to play in the prestigious under-20 tournament.
Ferlin finished the 2010-11 season as the USHL’s third-leading scorer after 73 points with the Indianapolis Ice. He was the final selection of the fourth round by the Bruins, attending the draft in Minneapolis with his family and getting a chance to put on the black and gold jersey of the team he hopes to one day skate for after at least a few years in the NCAA.
Just 10 days after the draft, Ferlin was in Wilmington, Mass. participating in Boston’s fifth annual prospects development camp, where he stood out for his speed and opportunistic scoring. He followed up his whirlwind summer with a trip to Lake Placid to participate in the Team USA World Jr. evaluation camp, getting a last-second invite after Brandon Saad declined to attend.
Ferlin took full advantage of his opportunity, playing well and attracting notice of USA Hockey with a productive showing in the exhibition phase against Sweden and Finland. That he was one of 17 forwards to make the most recent grade was not a surprise to anyone who saw him in August or in his first month of action with the Big Red, where he has been an impact freshman and point-per-game player.
“Ferlin’s opened a lot of eyes in the past year or so,” one NHL scout told New England Hockey Journal. “He’s got the size, skill and a natural feel for the game to overcome any disadvantage he may have had coming out of Florida in terms of the lack of elite competition he faced at a younger age.”
The U.S. National Team’s 29 players will gather in Camrose, Alberta on December 17 and play two exhibition games against Russia and Switzerland on Dec. 20 and 21 before getting to the final cutdown. Team USA’s 22-man roster will then play one last tuneup game on Dec. 23 against Slovakia before the tournament kicks off after Christmas.
One hopeful who did not get the call from USA Hockey was Boston’s second-rounder in 2010, right winger Jared Knight of the OHL’s London Knights.
Knight originally committed to the U.S. National Team Development Program and the University of Michigan before switching gears and opting to go the OHL route. That decision may have cost the 19-year-old a legitimate chance at being one of the final 29, but the Battle Creek, Michigan native took the snub in stride.
Knight told New England Hockey Journal via email that he was looking forward to an increased role in London under new head coach Mark Hunter and hopes to take advantage of that trust by boosting his production. He currently has 14 goals and 28 points with a sterling plus-20 rating in 25 games.