Sixteen players were named to the United States’ World Cup of Hockey squad on Wednesday, and most of the picks came as no surprise to the armchair critics. Dan Rosen of NHL.com reported the selections.
The addition of Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader did surprise many, but there was nothing wrong with that. USA general manager Dean Lombardi clearly wants to have a balanced lineup—not just a collection of All-Stars. Abdelkader figures to do well on a team coached by John Tortorella, bringing speed and grit to a USA lineup that probably lacked a bit of the latter in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Here are the 16 players named on Wednesday:
- Goalies: Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick and Cory Schneider.
- Defensemen: Dustin Byfuglien, John Carlson, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Suter.
- Forwards: Abdelkader, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Derek Stepan and Blake Wheeler.
This is a group notable for some of the people not named. No Phil Kessel, no David Backes, no Erik Johnson. But those three—and four others—can still be named to the 23-man final roster.
Here are my suggestions as to who those final seven should be. If anyone disagrees, hit the "comment" button and let your voice be heard. My criteria for inclusion are based on what the current team may be missing. A little more skill here, a little more grit there, etc.
One note: Only defensemen and forwards will be named here. It’s hard to argue that any of the three goalies named shouldn’t be there, so we won't.