World Cup Team North America Preview

Players already named to the team include:


Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings

Nathan Mackinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

J.T. Miller, New York Rangers

Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames

Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets


Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers

Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets

Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs


Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins

Connor Hellebuyck, Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets)

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks


So the question is, who fills out the remaining spots?

Potential Defensemen:

Colton Parayko, St.Louis Blues – After bursting onto the scene is St.Louis as a rookie this season, the 6’5″ blue liner brings a good all around game. He played big minutes for the Blues when Kevin Shattenkirk was injured, and proved he can be an impact player. He is a calming presence with good mobility and outstanding reach. He is excellent at driving possession with a 55% Corsi for, which is over 4% better then his teammates. He is a matchup nightmare due to his imposing stature and would fare well against high end competition.

Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyer – After starting the season in the AHL, Shayne was promoted due to injuries, and immediately showed off his flashy skills. An offensive-minded defensemen who posted the highest points per game for a rookie defensemen we’ve seen in years. He finished the season with 46 points in 66 games, including 22 on the man advantage. His high level speed makes his useful on the rush, and his ability to read the play allows him to be a perfect quarterback on any power play. He would’ve topped 20 goals had be played 82 games at his pace. He isn’t very good at driving possession, with his Corsi for % sitting at just over 50%, meaning his team still out attempts opponents when he is on the ice. He’s a noted clutch performer with 4 OT goals, breaking the NHL record for most by a rookie, and his 15 game point streak is the longest by a defensemen since hall of famer Chris Chelios.

Dougie Hamilton, Calgary Flames – Dougie struggled to begin his tenure with the Flames after demanding his way out of Boston. However it didn’t take long for him to regain the form that earned him a 6 year, $34.5 million dollar contract. Playing in his fourth NHL season, it can be easy to forget he is only 22 years old. At 6’6″ he can stand his ground, but is not overly physical and won’t take dumb penalties. He can play in all situation and contribute offensively. He is very good at moving the puck, a key component to reducing goals against. Very mobile for his size, and has a hard shot. He showed last season in Boston he can step up and play big minutes in the absence of Zdeno Chara.

Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets – Even though he has struggled at times, he has shown flashes of skill that prove he has potential to develop into a top paring defensemen at the NHL level. He is a good skater, and mediocre offensively. His true value comes in shot generation, where his teams are significantly better with him on the ice. He can play the physical game when he needs to and isn’t one to back down from a challenge. He could prove to be a useful addition to the team if given limited minutes and a spot on the second power play unit.



Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens – Alex truly broke out this year with the Canadiens, breaking the 30 goal barrier for the first time, and transitioned well from the wing to his natural centre position. He has a deadly shot, and scores at a healthy rate of 0.9 goals per 60 minutes. He is effective at driving possession with a 2.17% rel.Corsi for %. He is tall, at 6’2″ but needs to fill out his frame.

Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets – Another young centre who had a breakout year, especially after the Jets traded captain Andrew Ladd and he stepped up into a first line role. His offensive game is very versatile, and he is excellent at generating scoring opportunities. He uses his large frame to his advantage, which makes him difficult to knock off the puck. His defensive game, while not a strength, is also not a liability to his team and is very good at forcing turnovers.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers – Although injuries have held him back throughout his professional career, Nugent-Hopkins has proven to be a useful player despite his difficult deployment. He plays a strong two-way game, and can chip in offensively when teams are not focused on him. He could feature a prominent role on the penalty kill for the North American team.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers – A big offensive threat with a net front presence. His teammates become much more efficient while he in on the ice because of his playmaking abilities. His is a versatile player who can be deployed in any situation. His hockey IQ is very high, and he knows to pick his spots to shoot.

Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes – An energetic jitterbug, Domi brings a unique mix of speed and skill. He is purely an offensive threat, and shouldn’t be given heavy defensive tasks, but can be a very efficient scorer. He has filthy hands, and despite his small size does not back down from a physical affair. He could definitely shore up the left wing and add key secondary scoring to a bottom six role.

Auston Matthews, Zurich SC (2016 draft eligible) – Matthews is only 18 but turned to Switzerland for his draft year for an opportunity to play against men. He has been frequently compared to the likes of Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews. He doesn’t make many mistakes and thinks the game at a high level. He is a dominant puck handler with a powerful stride. His shot is accurate and NHL ready. He doesn’t take many penalties, and could be used in a defensive role for the team.

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