With the announcement of the rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey we take a look at four of the eight teams competing in this years tournament. The tournament will be held in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada from September 17th – October 1st.
Group A will consist of Team Canada, Team Europe, Team Czech Republic, and Team USA. Group B will consist of Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, and Team North America.
Team Russia –
Team Russia’s coach, Oleg Znarok named all three of his goalies, three of his defenseman, and 10 of his 13 forwards that will be on the 23 man roster. Rosters must be finalized by June 1st.
Russia is loaded with superstars upfront headlined by the League’s top goal scorer, Alexander Ovechkin. Also on the roster is the League’s rookie point getter in Artemi Panarin from the Chicago Blackhawks. Pavel Datsyuk from the Detroit Red Wings, and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins round out the veterans playing for Team Russia.
Team Russia’s biggest advantage headed into the World Cup of Hockey has to be their ability to score at will. Behind Ovechkin who has scored 40 goals in eight different seasons while in the NHL, Russian will have a firepower on Offense. The 10 forwards named have combined to score 204 goals so far this season.
The Russians only have two defenseman from the NHL that have played more than 20 minutes so far this season and those players are: Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens and Dmitry Kulikov of the Florida Panthers.
- Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, G
- Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche, G
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, G
- Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers, D
- Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens, D
- Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals, D
- Artem Anisimov, Chicago Blackhawks, F
- Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings, F
- Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning, F
- Nikolay Kulemin, New York Islanders, F
- Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals, F
- Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, F
- Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning, F
- Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, F
- Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks, F
- Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues, F
Team Europe –
Team Europe’s General manager Miroslav Satan used almost all countries at his disposal while naming his first 16 players for the World Cup. Seven different countries were represented with Slovakia getting five, Denmark had four, Germany and Switzerland both had two, and Slovenia, Austria, and Norway had one player each.
Europe has a lot of players with a ton of experience playing hockey. Zdeno Chara has played in 1,257 NHL games and is 38 years of age, while his teammate Dennis Seidenberg has played in 745 NHL games and is 34 years of age. The other two over-34 players on the initial roster are Mark Streit (38) and Marian Hossa (37).
The best thing that Europe has is Forward depth. Except for the injured Hossa each of the nine selected forwards has at least 13 goals and 30 points on the season. Hossa has 10 goals and 28 points this season but has tallied a career total of 1,084 in his 1,226-game career.
Europe is at a disadvantage when it comes to the World Cup and that is because of its lack of chemistry. Many of the other teams are able to take players from their national team who have played together for a few years now. Europe’s playing style and chemistry issues will have to be developed quickly with a short training camp period.
- Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks, G
- Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders, G
- Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins, D
- Roman Josi, Nashville Predators, D
- Dennis Seidenberg, Boston Bruins, D
- Andrej Sekera, Edmonton Oilers, D
- Mark Streit, Philadelphia Flyers, D
- Mikkel Boedker, Colorado Avalanche, F
- Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers, F
- Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks, F
- Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks, F
- Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings, F
- Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders, F
- Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings, F
- Thomas Vanek, Minnesota Wild, F
- Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers, F
Team Sweden –
Team Sweden is based around their depth. All around Sweden has put together a team that is the favorite to win it all. Henrik Lundqvist is expected to lead Team Sweden in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey 10 years after he helped win a gold medal in the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Including Lundqvist 11 other players named to the World Cup roster were players on Sweden’s 2014 Olympic Team. Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Niklas Kronwall, and Henrik Zetterberg join Lundqvist from the Olympic gold-and silver-medal winners on the roster.
The biggest thing that Sweden has is their goaltending and puck possession. Lundqvist can keep the puck out of the net night in and night out, but Sweden will be able to limit shots on his net with their excellent control in the offensive zone. This team was built on depth play and puck control.
Looking at these first 16 selections for Team Sweden there seems to be a bit of a trend. They are loaded with lefties. Three of the 14 skaters that were named were righties. This could be something they need to think about with their final seven players.
- Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, G
- Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks, G
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, D
- Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, D
- Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks, D
- Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, D
- Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings, D
- Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning, D
- Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals, F
- Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins, F
- Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators, F
- Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche, F
- Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, F
- Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, F
- Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues, F
- Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings, F
Team USA –
Twelve players on Team USA’s roster that were named by general manager Dean Lombardi played for the Americans in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. After the Americans had a poor finish in Sochi failing to come home with a medal after losing 1-0 to Canada in the semifinals and 5-0 to Finland in the bronze-medal game. Revenge is on the minds of these players.
Jonathan Quick, Ryan Suter, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Zach Parise, and Joe Pavelski were all part of the U.S. team that medaled in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics with a 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in the gold-medal game. Quick has some competition this year in net with the additions of Cory Schneider and Ben Bishop.
The U.S. has not had a signature win in a best-on-best international tournament since the 1996 World Cup of Hockey where they beat Canada 5-2 in the gold-medal game.
The U.S. will not go wrong with any goalie in next during this World Cup. Ben Bishop is on a Stanley Cup Contending team once again, Jonathan Quick has won a Stanley Cup, and Cory Schneider is a well rounded contender in net.
The U.S. could use some help up the middle with their centers. Kesler, Pavelski, and Stepan are good but the depth of the other seven teams including Canada, Sweden, Russia, and Team North America is unreal.
- Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning, G
- Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, G
- Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils, G
- Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets, D
- John Carlson, Washington Capitals, D
- Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers, D
- Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild, D
- Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings, F
- Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, F
- Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks, F
- T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals, F
- Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadians, F
- Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, F
- Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, F
- Derek Stepan, New York Rangers, F
- Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets, F