All World Cup of Hockey teams are required to announce the first 16 players of their roster, including two goaltenders, on Mar. 2. Here’s the first 16 players of the Team Czech Republic World Cup roster.
The Czech team is an interesting mix of young and old. It’s a national team that is clearly in transition. On the surface, the team is weaker than other competitors, but assuming that means they can’t win is the mistake other teams made when the Czech won gold at the Olympics in 1998.
Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings, G
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers, G
Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets, G
Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers, D
Michal Kempny, Avangard Omsk (KHL), D
Roman Polak, San Jose Sharks, D
Andrej Sustr, Tampa Bay Lightning, D
Michael Frolik, Calgary Flames, F
Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes, F
Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks, F
David Krejci, Boston Bruins, F
Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning, F
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins, F
Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens, F
Vladimir Sobotka, Avangard Omsk (KHL), F
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers, F
Zbynek Michalek and Jaromir Jagr are the notables in this category, though Jagr’s absence isn’t surprising. Jagr has already announced his retirement from international play. Yet there was some hope that the ageless one would just play anyhow.
With a defensive group that lacks a top pairing defender, the absence of Michalek is equally notable. He’s aging, yes, but remains solid and should be a part of the national team’s next announcement.
It’s not surprising that there are KHLers on the Czech roster, after all Sobotka was on our roster projection. Though it is a bit surprising to see the un-drafted Michal Kempny on the roster. He’s put up 21 points in 59 regular season games for Avangard this season.
This defensive group may be even weaker than Team Russia’s, and that could mean it’s the weakest group in the entire tournament. That coupled with bad goaltending could have been a problem, but it doesn’t look like goaltending is going to be an issue.
There were questions about the Czech goaltending tandem at the start of the NHL season. Now, Mrazek and Neuvirth looks like it could be a very solid duo that could help keep the Czech competitive despite being outmatched on the surface of the rosters.
In recent best on best play the Czechs were thought to be an aging group with few signs that a new crop of talent was on the way.
This year, we start to see the foundation of a new group, who grew up watching the successful underdog runs of Jagr and Dominik Hasek. Leading the group of young forwards creating the foundation of the future are Palat, Hertl, Voracek and Pastrnak.
More World Cup Roster Announcements:
Team Canada Roster Announcement
Team Europe World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Finland World Cup Roster Announcement
Team North America World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Russia World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Sweden World Cup Roster Announcement
Team USA World Cup Roster Announcement
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.