With just a couple weeks until the first World Cup roster announcements, the Czech Republic World Cup roster is tricky to pin down.
Most spots seem clear enough, but there are enough weak points near the bottom that a strong late-season performance could catapult lower ranked players into contention.
Below is a full projection of the Czech Republic World Cup roster, with 16 players bolded to designate the 16 that should be announced on Mar. 2. At that point every team must announce their first 16 players, including two goaltenders.
Tomas Fleischmann – David Krejci – Jaromir Jagr
Ondrej Palat – Tomas Hertl – Jakub Voracek
Vladimir Sobotka – Tomas Plekanec – Radim Vrbata
Milan Michalek – Martin Hanzal – Michael Frolik
Potentials: Roman Cervenka, Radek Faksa, Jiri Hudler, Jan Kovar, Dmitrij Jaskin, Andrej Nestrasil, David Pastrnak, Jiri Sekac, Jiri Tlusty, Pavel Zacha
The Czech Republic hasn’t had a strong crop of young players in a while, but it’s clear that they’re coming along with guys like Ondrej Palat, Jakub Voracek and Tomas Hertl sure to be on the team. They’ve also got a nice set of young fringe players — Pavel Zacha, Dmitrij Jaskin, Radek Faksa — who could find their way onto the roster in coming years.
Ales Hemsky has played well lately. Couple with some experience on big stages, he could make sense as the extra forward.
David Pastrnak was an early favorite to be on the roster, but he hasn’t quite been the player many expected this year. Also capable of challenging for a roster spot is Carolina’s Andrej Nestrasil or a dark horse like Jiri Sekac, if he could rekindle some of the offensive production he was supposed to be bringing to the NHL.
Roman Polak – Radko Gudas
Jakub Kindl – Marek Zidlicky
Andrej Sustr – Zbynek Michalek
Potentials: Jan Hejda, Michal Jordan, Lukas Krajicek, Jakub Nakladal, Michal Rozsival, Ladislav Smid
The blue line may be the Achilles heel of the the Czech team. They lack a number one defenseman and have three 2/3 pairings. However, they do have serious size. So, while you may be able to burn them to the outside, you’ll want to have your head up through the neutral zone.
Ondrej Nemec is the seventh defender here. He has been staple of the Czech blue line for many years in international play, but it’s easy to see how he gets bumped out for a younger player like Michal Jordan. Nemec is regularly on the Czech World Championship roster, but wasn’t a part of the last Olympic roster.
But Nemec could get the call here with lots of that Olympic roster in decline or aging out. Tomas Kaberle, Michal Barinka, Ladislav Smid, Lukas Krajicek and Michal Rozsival were all a part of that roster.
Potentials: Marek Mazanec, Alexander Salak
More World Cup Roster Projections:
Team Canada World Cup 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
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.