The first roster announcements for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey are coming on Mar. 2, when teams have to announce the first 16 players for their roster, including two goaltenders. Below I make projections for the Canada World Cup Roster, including the 16 players to be named first, who are marked in bold.
Rick Nash – Sidney Crosby – Steven Stamkos
Jamie Benn – Jonathan Toews – Tyler Seguin
Taylor Hall – John Tavares – Patrice Bergeron
Claude Giroux – Logan Couture – Corey Perry
Possibilities: Ryan Johansen, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Sharp, Mike Hoffman, Ryan O’Reilly
Canada’s forward group is difficult to pick because there is a good handful of guys it’s tough to imagine not getting on the roster. Yet, it doesn’t take too much of a slump to find yourself off the roster on a team with as many possibilities as Canada has. Just ask Claude Giroux.
A little slump can open the door for someone who is having a great season. How poorly does Ryan Getzlaf have to play this season to find himself replaced by Ryan Johansen or Ryan O’Reilly? O’Reilly’s style of play could be a good fit for Mike Babcock and might replace Getzlaf’s defensive ability well. He could maybe even replace Matt Duchene in the 13th spot.
Could a slump for Rick Nash or Taylor Hall spell a roster spot for Mike Hoffman or Patrick Sharp, who is quietly having a fantastic season?
Getzlaf’s slump might do him in. That says a lot, because he has that rare situation where he’s a part of a duo that could play internationally together. GMs don’t take getting that kind of instant chemistry on the team lightly. It got Chris Kunitz some best-on-best time on Team Canada.
P.K. Subban – Shea Weber
Drew Doughty – Duncan Keith
Marc Edouard Vlasic – Mark Giordano
Possibilities: Kris Letang, Karl Alzner, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Seabrook, Jake Muzzin
Jake Muzzin‘s great season has to at least have him on Hockey Canada’s radar. He could jump in there. Kris Letang is tough to keep out, but his bevy of injuries makes it difficult for Hockey Canada when other defenders are having a great season. He’s been injured enough that if they’re on the fence about Letang, it could open the door for Brent Burns to get the call.
If we’re being honest, I probably wouldn’t have Karl Alzner on the “Possibilities” list at all if I was doing this in a vacuum. However, Barry Trotz has said that Alzner’s name has come up in Hockey Canada roster discussions and that he’s made the “watch list.” He’s probably earned that status, but it’s hard to imagine him cracking this group when they already have a lot of skill in the defensive zone with Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Mark Giordano.
Possibilities: Marc-Andre Fleury, Corey Crawford, Devan Dubnyk, Brian Elliott
Carey Price and Braden Holtby have to be locks. Even with his injury, Price has done enough that he has to be penciled into a roster spot.
Roberto Luongo is having a great season in Florida despite being 36. He’s an interesting addition in part because it’s probably his last best-on-best and he’s got experience on this big of a stage. However, Corey Crawford is turning in a stellar season and could challenge for that spot. As could Marc-Andre Fleury, Devan Dubnyk or Brian Elliott if they put together an impressive stretch run.
More World Cup Roster Projections:
Team Czech Republic Roster Projection
Team Europe World Cup Roster Projection
Team Finland World Cup Roster Projection
Team North America World Cup Roster Projection
Team Russia World Cup Roster Projection
Team Sweden World Cup Roster Projection
Team USA World Cup Roster Projection