On Wednesday, Team USA World Junior GM John Vanbiesbrouck spoke to the media with great things to say about LA Kings prospect Brock Faber.
He is now in his fifth year as the general manager for Team USA‘s World Junior team, and good reason. After all, John Vanbiesbrouck has led Team USA to medals in three of the past four tournaments, including gold last year in Edmonton. An integral part of Team USA’s success last year was their stingy defense. Yet, while blueliners such as Drew Helleson and Cam York have not returned to the team this year, Team USA can — and does — feel confident in some of their returning blueliners, most notably LA Kings prospect Brock Faber.
To the surprise of very few, Faber was among the names on the Americans’ final roster on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Vanbiesbrouck spoke to the media about the LA Kings prospect.
“You’re looking for good play up and down the lineup, but Brock, in particular, is a great defender [and] one of the best players in college hockey, to be quite honest,” Vanbiesbrouck noted. “I’ll put in an old term: unsung hero. He is an unsung hero type of player. He doesn’t get a lot of [acclaim], but he is super-detailed, very quick, quick to defend — all the things we want to be in our identity in our game.”
At last year’s tournament, Faber was instrumental in Team USA winning the gold medal.
In addition to his solid defensive game, the Maple Grove, Minn., native chipped in five total assists, ultimately helping his country upset Team Canada in the championship game.
As for Vanbiesbrouck, he does know a thing or two about the immense talent on the blueline.
A veteran of 20 NHL seasons, the former goaltender has played with, and been supported by, some of the top defenders in the game, from Tom Laidlaw to Ed Jovanovski to Hall-of-Famer Scott Niedermayer. Yet, while it may be premature to compare Faber to any of the aforementioned, the youngster’s performance in Alberta this holiday season could help bring his game — and his status — to another level.
Team USA will begin their tournament on Dec. 26 in Red Deer when they square off against Slovakia.