Now that the NHL playoffs are over, it’s time to take a look at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. This tournament is composed of 8 teams: Canada, the United-States, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Team Europe (a team made of players from the remaining European countries) and a North American Youngstars team (Players of 23 years old and under from Canada and the United-States). The tournament is set to start September 16th, 2016.
In this article I will give my predictions for Team Canada’s roster
1. Sidney Crosby
No surprise here, Crosby is arguably the best player in the NHL since he came into the league, he is a lock on this team.
2. Jonathan Toews
The three-time Cup winner has shown everyone his skill and leadership qualities on every team he’s played on, he will be leading this team with Sidney Crosby just like they did last year in the Olympics.
3. Tyler Seguin
He didn’t make the Olympic team last year, but Tyler Seguin has shown everyone that he is an elite forward who can put the puck in the net. He had 9 goals in 10 games during the IIHF tournament a few months ago.
4. Jamie Benn
Benn and Seguin are pretty much a package deal, except Benn made the Olympic team last year. The Art Ross winner is another young forward who can produce points and play a solid two-way game.
5. John Tavares
Right behind Jamie Benn is John Tavares, he finished with 86 points in 82 games last season and is noted for being a big player during International play.
6. Steven Stamkos
After missing the last Olympics due to injury and losing in the Stanley Cup final, Stamkos will be looking to make a statement in this this tournament. The sniper is definitely going to make this team if he remains healthy.
7. Claude Giroux
A versatile forward that plays a solid two-way game and dominates the faceoff circle, Giroux can be of use to the team in key moments on both ends of the ice.
8. Taylor Hall
Hall is a dominant player on a mediocre team; he doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves, but he should be a lock on this team despite missing some time last season.
9. Jordan Eberle
He put up 13 points in 10 games during the IIHF tournament, he is without a doubt the most clutch player in international play Canada has ever seen and he developed great chemistry with Crosby during the tournament. It would be great to see Eberle on this roster.
10. Ryan Getzlaf
Getzlaf is a force on the ice at all times, he’s been successful when playing for his country, he will be on this team without a doubt.
11. Corey Perry
Getzlaf’s partner in crime Corey Perry is another goal scoring machine on this team, his chemistry with Getzlaf is what makes the duo simply incredible.
12. Patrice Bergeron
Arguably the best two-way player in the NHL, Bergeron should be on this team for his amazing defensive skills and his incredible faceoff prowess. His offensive game shouldn’t be overlooked, as he can put up points too.
13. Ryan Johansen
A severely underrated player, Johansen is a dominant player with great size and skill. He could be a very good asset on the team.
On the bubble: Rick Nash, Matt Duchene, Logan Couture, Jason Spezza, not Chris Kunitz.
In my opinion, we aren’t seeing the Rick Nash that played for Columbus. He is still dominant, but I believe he has been surpassed by some players and other guys like Ryan Johansen and Jordan Eberle deserve a shot to play for Team Canada.
Matt Duchene isn’t on my roster, but I believe he could make it if he has a great season in 2015-2016. Duchene went from 70 points in 71 games in 2013-2014 to 55 points in 82 games in 2014-2015. Look for him to bounce back and possibly make the team.
1. Shea Weber
Weber is a complete defenseman, he brings everything to the table and has a guaranteed spot on this roster.
2. Duncan Keith
Another complete defenseman who can move the puck up quickly and can shut down the opposition, Keith is arguably the best defenseman in the NHL after his incredible performance in the playoffs.
3. Drew Doughty
Doughty is a defenseman that could easily be considered in the same class as Keith and Weber. He is dynamic, very gifted offensively and he can play a very solid defensive game.
4. P.K Subban
Despite seeing very little ice time in Sochi, Subban is a great defenseman that can really change a game. His explosiveness is what makes him a treat to watch. He is often criticized for playing mediocre defense, but he can certainly turn it around next season.
5. Alex Pietrangelo
Pietrangelo didn’t have his best season, but putting up 46 points as a defenseman is always good. He is very reliable on both ends of the ice. He should be a lock on this team.
6. Marc-Edouard Vlasic
One of the best defensive defenseman in the NHL is Marc-Edouard Vlasic, he doesn’t get as much attention as other players since he doesn’t put up many points, but he plays a phenomenal defensive game and should definitely be on this team. He was great alongside Drew Doughty in the Olympics last year.
7. Brent Seabrook
Seabrook would be a great addition to the team since he can play with Duncan Keith and he can also play great in his own end. He blocks shots, makes the simple plays and can also contribute offensively.
On the bubble: Mark Giordano, Brent Burns, Kris Letang, Johnny Boychuk
These defenseman on the bubble could all compete for a spot on the roster, Giordano should definitely not be overlooked as he can play very well offensively and defensively.
1. Carey Price
Not too much debate here, Price is the best goalie in the NHL as of now. With the defense he will have in front of him, look for a performance similar to the one he had in Sochi.
2. Braden Holtby
After having a fantastic season with the Capitals, Braden Holtby would be a very solid backup for Carey Price. He can make the key saves and should be on this team.
3. Steve Mason
Maybe a little bit of a surprise here, but let me explain. Mason has been fantastic in Philadelphia, even though his record was mediocre last season (18-18-11), he still finished top 10 in goals against average (2.25) and top 5 in save percentage (0.928). He plays behind a lackluster defensive core and still manages to have good individual statistics. Keep an eye out for him.
On the bubble: Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury, Mike Smith, Roberto Luongo
All of these goalies could make a case for backup or 3rd goalie depending on how their seasons go. But I think Price will still be at the top next season.
Feel free to give me your feedback as you may disagree with some of my predictions.
Brandon Murphy – @2murphy8