World Cup of Hockey Rosters Announced
The rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey have been finalized, and as expected the NHL dominates the goaltender position. Of the 24 goalies named, only one is a KHL goaltender. The rest are a mix of NHL starters and prospects. InGoal breaks down the rosters, including who might end up with the bulk of starting time…and who might not.
Canada — Corey Crawford, Braden Holtby, Carey Price
For all the angst about Canada’s goaltending woes, this group may be the best threesome in the tournament. Carey Price is one of two goaltenders virtually universally considered an elite netminder and Holtby and Crawford are often in that conversation. Holtby is a Vezina finalist this season and Crawford definitely could have been. One supposes that if he is healthy, Price will be the starter, but he hasn’t played since November of 2015. No worries, though; if your elite starter can’t go you can always turn to one of your near-elite starters.
Czech Republic — Petr Mrazek, Michal Neuvirth, Ondrej Pavelec
Mrazek stands out here as the potential go-to guy for the Czechs, but Neuvirth is a pretty good second option. Mrazek’s young, though, and still has occasional moments of over-aggression. And Neuvirth might even beat the kid out for the starting position straight up. Pavelec is a perennial member of Czech national teams, but based on skill alone, shouldn’t be put ahead of Mrazek or Neuvirth in any depth chart.
Europe — Frederik Andersen, Thomas Greiss, Jaroslav Halak
Three very good goaltenders who rarely get the credit they deserve. It will be tough to pick one player to roll with in this group, and rotating through them is probably not a bad choice. We should note that Halak is recovering from surgery for a sports hernia that may slow down his offseason training a bit. He should be fully recovered by September, however.
Finland — Mikko Koskinen, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne
Koskinen is the sole KHL goalie on a roster for the World Cup. The Finns appear to have an attachment to the guy who has appeared on all of their Euro Hockey Tour teams and backstopped them to a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF World Championships in May. Rask and Rinne are better goaltenders, but neither is as good as they once were. It is strange to see Team Finland struggling in the goaltending department after being so good for so long. Why a young up and coming goalie such as Juuse Saros wasn’t named (or for that matter why he wasn’t played more at the World Championships) is a curious question.
North America — John Gibson, Connor Hellebuyck, Matt Murray
The “Young Guns” team is stacked at all positions, including goaltending. With Murray’s deep playoff run this postseason (still not over), it’s probable that he has the most name recognition of these three. For a short tournament, though, it’s very tough to predict who’s going to give the team the best chance to win. I look for Murray to come out on top in terms of getting ice time, if only because of the experience he’s gaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Still, youth sometimes tells and lack of experience with a wide range of national styles might possibly slow this group down.
Russia — Sergei Bobrovsky, Semyon Varlamov, Andrei Vasilevskiy
Russia surprisingly chose no goaltenders from the KHL, turning instead to their NHL favorites. Bobrovsky and Varlamov have played for Russia often before, including at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. Bobrovsky put up a .931 for them in the World Championships last month, helping the team earn a Bronze medal. He’s the favorite for the starter’s position in September. But don’t count out Vasilevskiy, who is a dynamic young talent in the process of coming into his own.
Sweden — Robin Lehner, Henrik Lundqvist, Jacob Markstrom
There’s no question here who is tabbed to be the main guy for the Tre Kronor. Henrik Lundqvist is unequivocally one of the best goaltenders of this generation and he outclasses Lehner and Markstrom by miles, even at 34 years old. He will have a solid team in front of him, so it shouldn’t all come down to goaltending for Sweden, but if it does, having one of the two best goalies in the world in net is a great confidence boost.
United States — Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, Cory Schneider
Team USA is getting a lot of heat for its roster choices, but for American goalies in the NHL over the age of 23, these are the guys. The other choices were Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, and Ryan Miller, none of whom can make a claim to being clearly better than Bishop, Quick, or Schneider. Of the three Schneider is the most technically sound, but doesn’t have the reputation or the awards of the other two. Bishop and Quick are both Vezina finalists this season (mostly due to reputation), and winning that award will likely, for better or for worse, mean something when it comes to handing out ice time. Quick also played for Team USA in the last Olympics and Bishop in the World Championships in 2013. Schneider hasn’t donned a USA jersey since the WJC in 2006.
The tournament will be held in Toronto from September 17 to October 1.