USA Hockey announced Tuesday that they’ve added 12 players to the 2016 World Championship roster. It’s a list that includes nine NHLers and three players from collegiate hockey.
That list of 12 is in addition to Auston Matthews, who was the first player named to the team in March.
Here’s the full 13-player roster thus far.
Auston Matthews, Zurich Lions
Kyle Connor, University of Michigan
Tyler Motte, University of Michigan
JT Compher, University of Michigan
Matt Hendricks, Edmonton Oilers
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Pat Maroon, Edmonton Oilers
Noah Hanifin, Carolina Hurricanes
Jake McCabe, Buffalo Sabres
Connor Murphy, Arizona Coyotes
Chris Wideman, Ottawa Senators
Mike Condon, Montreal Canadiens
Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils
It’s an entirely different tone than the 16 players Hockey Canada named to Team Canada on Monday. That was a list entirely comprised of NHLers, including stars Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall, Ryan O’Reilly and Connor McDavid.
As always, due to the timing of the international tournament, NHL players whose teams make the playoffs tend not to be a part of the tournament. The exception is a handful of players whose teams face an early elimination and decide to go to the tournament after being eliminated.
Sidney Crosby did this last season to help Canada to a gold medal finish.
The U.S. roster frequently skews younger and includes some NHL prospects, partly because the World Championship isn’t something that has historically resonated with U.S. audiences or been a part of something veteran American NHLers do.
Last season Connor Hellebuyck was in net and, fresh out of Boston University, Jack Eichel skated with the team. That team, despite the lack of blockbuster names, come out of the tournament with a bronze medal.
The big surprise on the roster is the complete “CCM” line from the University of Michigan being a part of this initial announcement. It had been rumored that Connor, a freshman, would get an invite, but bringing the entire line over is a big back-pat for that group.
That trio finished first, second and fourth in points NCAA-wide and were hugely dominant all season long.
It’s surprising, but the headline here is that Connor has made the World Championship roster after being cut by USA Hockey for the 2016 World Junior Championship roster, something many pointed out as a surprising cut (to put it kindly).
He wound up posting 71 points in 38 games and clearly should have been a part of that roster. There were a number of cuts to that team that were difficult to understand from the outside. He was the biggest head-scratcher.
In some way, it seems, USA Hockey is making it up to Connor, who is among the first to be named to the roster and will be headed to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia where the tournament is slated to kick off May 6.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.