With Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli being named general manager of Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday, TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button gives his own projection at next year's roster. Of note, all players must be 23-and-under as of October 1st, 2016.
Call them what you will, but there is certainly no absence of talent amongst the group of young players who will form Team North American.
The lack of experience is greatest in the goaltending position, which should come as no surprise given the longer progression of goalies. John Gibson has won gold at the world juniors, bronze at the world championships and has played four NHL playoff games for the Anaheim Ducks. Winnipeg Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck won bronze at the most recent world championships, so there is a winning pedigree in the crease.
The defence is very good. They can skate, create plays and make a game very difficult for opposing players from a physical standpoint. Reigning NHL Rookie of the Year Aaron Ekblad showed maturity beyond his years with the Florida Panthers last season and will be a key pillar for this team.
Within the forward group, there is an abundance of skill. Speed, scoring and offensive weaponry will allow this team to score and be a dangerous threat to any team they face.
Add in the two Stanley Cups won by Brandon Saad, the world championship gold medal won by Ekblad, Sean Couturier and Nathan MacKinnon, as well as the medals won by others at various international competitions and this will be a team that can’t be taken lightly by any opponent.
World Cup of Hockey Team North America
|GOALTENDERS||LEFT DEFENCE||RIGHT DEFENCE|
|John Gibson, ANA (USA)||Seth Jones, NAS (USA)||Aaron Ekblad, FLA (CAN)|
|Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (USA)||Morgan Rielly, TOR (CAN)||Dougie Hamilton, CGY (CAN)|
|Matt Murray, PIT (CAN)||Ryan Murray, CBJ (CAN)||Jacob Trouba, WPG (USA)|
|Cody Ceci, OTT (CAN)|
|LEFT WING||CENTRE||RIGHT WING|
|Brandon Saad, CBJ (USA)||Sean Monahan, CGY (CAN)||Nathan MacKinnon, COL (CAN)|
|Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (USA)||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM (CAN)||Ryan Strome, NYI (CAN)|
|Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (CAN)||Connor McDavid, EDM (CAN)||Mark Scheifele, WPG (CAN)|
|Alex Galchenyuk, MTL (USA)||Jack Eichel, BUF (USA)||Curtis Lazar, OTT (CAN)|
|Sean Couturier, PHI (CAN)|