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Florida Panthers land two prospects on Team USA's World Juniors preliminary roster

McCoshen and Downing looking for spots on the American blue line.

Florida prospect Ian McCoshen representing the Stars and Stripes.
Florida prospect Ian McCoshen representing the Stars and Stripes.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Florida Panthers prospects Ian McCoshen and Michael Downing are among the ten contenders vying for spots on Team USA's blue line for this year's IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal.

The U.S. team's 30-man preliminary roster of players includes five players eligible for the upcoming 2015 NHL Entry Draft, including potential top pick Jack Eichel, as well as one 2016 draft-eligible player, Auston Matthews. Click here to set the full list of invitees.

McCoshen, a 19-year-old sophomore with Boston College, is looking to make the American WJC squad for a second straight time after suiting up last year in Sweden. The smooth skating defender currently has 1 goal and 3 assists this season to go along with a +6 rating in 13 games for the Eagles. The Cats nabbed McCoshen in the second round (31st overall) of the 2013 draft.

Downing is steady sophomore blueliner currently playing his second season at the University of Michigan. The 19-year-old, who was a fourth-round selection in 2013, already has 3 goals and 3 assists in 13 games for the Wolverines to go along with a robust total of 35 PIM.

The other players looking for a spot on the back end for the United States are: Steve Santini (Boston College), Anthony DeAngelo (Sarnia-OHL), Noah Hanifin (Boston College), Will Butcher (Minnesota), Ryan Collins (Minnesota), Zach Werenski (Michigan), Jack Dougherty (Wisconsin) and Brandon Carlo (Tri City-WHL).

Team USA will open the tournament against Finland on December 26, at the Bell Centre. Let's hope our two Kiddie Cats are among the American participants.