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 Finland World Cup roster.
Team Finland is always a threat in best-on-best tournament. Rarely do they enter the tournament as a favorite, but taking them lightly has been a problem for many teams in the past.
Here’s a look at the first 16 players named to the Team Finland World Cup roster.
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres
Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks
Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
Jori Lehtera, St. Louis Blues
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild
Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers
Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning
Leo Komarov, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joonas Donski, San Jose Sharks
Lauri Korpikoski, Edmonton Oilers
Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks
The omission of Teemu Pulkkinen and Erik Haula shows that the management group, at least in the initial announcement, is valuing veteran leadership in the offense group. Pulkkinen hasn’t lit up the NHL, but he’s a talented winger.
More surprising is Haula, who is capable of playing both center and wing, and has shored up some of his issues at center this season. Additionally, Haula has been on an impressive tear. However, it maybe came too late to get him included on this 16-man announcement. He has likely worked his way from a borderline player to someone who gets the nod on the next list after putting up eight points in his last nine games, as well as seven goals and 12 assists in the 27 games since New Year’s Eve.
The faith in veterans up front is most vividly personified in the inclusion of Korpikoski, who hasn’t been much of a producer since the 2011-12 season. Donskoi is also surprising, though the San Jose rookie is clearly a player on the rise.
The other surprise is Dallas prospect Lindell, who has played just four NHL games. He’s a serious talent, but he’s young and untested.
There isn’t a dynamic scorer on the team. Their forward group is flush with two-way players and distributors, but there are only two players on the team who have more than 15 goals this season.
Team Finland’s strength is two-fold. At the top of the list is goaltending. Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne, even if neither is having their best season, are a formidable tandem. It only takes one of them getting hot to change the complexion of the field.
Also working for Team Finland is the wealth of defensive forwards. Their defensive group isn’t as weak as Team Russia, but they’re young. The next roster announcement may make their group even younger with Julius Honka, Jyrki Jokipakka and Ville Pokka among the possible announcements. They’ll benefit greatly from having defensively accountable forwards like Koivu and Barkov down the middle.
<More World Cup Roster Announcements:
Team Canada Roster Announcement
Team Czech Republic World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Europe 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
Featured photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.