Top Kraken prospect Matty Beniers is headed to the Winter Olympics

United States v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 29: Matthew Beniers #10 of the United States skates against Jan Mysak #19 of the Czech Republic during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 29, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Center Matty Beniers will get a second chance to wear the colors of his home country in international competition this year.

USA Hockey on Thursday announced Beniers, the second overall pick by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, has been named to the roster for the upcoming Winter Olympic games in Beijing, China, the latest benchmark in a season delivering promising signs as he prepares for a potential career in the NHL.

The top Kraken prospect at age 19 was previously named to USA Hockey’s squad at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, a tournament that wound up cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic after Beniers registered an assist in his 2021 tourney debut.

Beniers is in his second collegiate season playing for Michigan, has racked up 12 goals and 26 points for the fourth ranked Wolverines.

The Hingham, Mass. native will pursue a gold medal with USA Hockey for the second straight year after helping the program take the World Juniors title last season, and is part of a roster consisting of six players with NHL experience and ten additional players at pro levels, who will represent the United States from Feb. 3-20.

USA Hockey’s Olympic squad will be led behind the bench by head coach David Quinn, previously serving three seasons as head coach of the New York Rangers from 2018-21.

NHL players were originally scheduled to participate in the Olympics after being absent at the 2018 tournament in South Korea. The league announced in a joint statement with the National Hockey League Players Association in December that NHL players would not compete in the upcoming Olympic Games, instead moving forward with using an originally scheduled three-week Olympic break in February to reschedule originally postponed league games.

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