Quinnipiac Forward Ty Smilanic Named to USA U20 National Team


Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

Aiden Barrett

Ty Smilanic has made the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team roster. The Quinnipiac forward is one of 16 newcomers on the squad.

The United States won the gold last year in Edmonton thanks to a Spencer Knight shutout and a 2-0 win in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States has been placed in Group B this year along with Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

The tournament will take place in Canada again this year. Smilanic, the first Bobcat to ever crack the U20 National Team, will look to make his debut on Dec. 26 against the Slovaks.

Original Post – Dec. 3

“The Florida Panthers are proud to select, from the U.S. National Developmental Team Program and Quinnipiac University, Ty Smilanic.”

The 18-year-old at the time had achieved his dream of being drafted into the NHL when the Panthers selected him with their third round pick, 74th overall, last fall.

The winger had a track record that spoke for itself. He had played for multiple U.S. national teams in the past, including in 2019 when he put up 20 goals and 38 points as a U17 prospect. He also learned from one of the best at a young age when he played under Hall of Famer Joe Sakic at the age of eight.

Fast-forward a year. Following an ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team nod, the sophomore looks to be on almost the exact same pace for goals, assists, and point totals for this season at the 14-game mark, with seven scores and four helpers so far.

So if there was any question if his production would take a hit with the absence of Odeen Tufto gone, they have been answered.

Now Smilanic will look to complete another challenge in his career as he will have a chance to compete for a roster spot on Team USA’s U20 squad after being selected to the country’s preliminary roster.

Smilanic was one of 31 players invited. Twenty five of them will make it. The 19-year-old joins the competition of other drafted NHL players, like the Seattle Kraken’s first-ever draft pick Matthew Beniers (3rd overall in 2021) and fellow first-round picks Chaz Lucius and Matt Coronato.

Seven players invited to try out are former first-round draft picks. The group will have a lot of familiarity as not only many of the players on the team have played against or with each other growing up, but 28 of the 31 play or are committed to a Division I hockey program.

An element Smilanic brings to the table that will make him a tough player to cut is his shot. The sophomore led all first-years in college scoring last season with 14 goals.

His shot makes him multidimensional. He can score from range on 5-on-5 or play the dot on the power-play. This could play into his favor when head coach Nate Leaman and staff make their final cuts.

Although he may not get the same type of ice time or the same role he has at Quinnipiac, Smilanic’s skill set should give him a good chance to make the roster and play a pivotal role somewhere in the middle six.