World Hockey Championships: Group B Preview


CANADA
Actual name: Canada
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? Brad Marchand, of course. A lot of Canada’s NHL superstars will give the WHC a pass, but it’s Canada so there’s still talent aplenty. Connor McDavid (EDM), Taylor Hall (EDM), Max Domi (ARI), and Mathew Dumba (MIN), to name a few. Team Canada is the only team in the WHC whose entire roster comes from the NHL.
Possible NHL reinforcements: Oodles, but expect the younger ones. Perhaps Jamie Benn (DAL), Ryan Johansen (NAS), John Tavares (NYI), Derrick Pouliot (PIT), Justin Schultz (PIT), or Martin Jones (SJS).
Jersey grade: C
The Team Canada jerseys have always felt corporate-looking and boring to me. It’s possible that they’re using these jerseys instead, which would be an improvement:


FINLAND
Actual name: Suomi
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? Tuukka Rask is passing on the WHC this year, but will play for Finland in the World Cup of Hockey in September. Team Finland has a bunch of NHLers already, with more to come as the NHL Playoffs progress. NHLers on the roster right now include Aleksander Barkov (FLA), Teemu Pulkkinen (DET), Mikko Koivu (MIN), Mikael Granlund (MIN), Jussi Jokinen (FLA), plus top draft prospect Patrik Laine. The roster is rounded out with players from Finnish Liiga, SEL, and KHL. NHL prospects include Jusse Saros (NAS), Esa Lindell (DAL), Ville Pokka (NYI), Sebastian Aho (CAR), and Mikko Rantanen (COL).
Possible NHL reinforcements: Kari Lehtonen (DAL), Antti Niemi (DAL), Mikka Salomaki (NAS), Pekka Rinne (NAS), Olli Maatta (PIT), Joonas Donskoi (SJS), Jori Lehtera (STL), Petteri Lindbohm (STL), Valtteri Filppula (TBL).
Jersey grade: C+
What happened to the Sochi jerseys? Where’s the red emblem? Boring, boring, boring.


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Actual name: United States of America
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? Most of them, though the USA tends to use the WHC as an opportunity to develop younger players. As such, Team USA has the youngest roster in the tournament. Frank Vatrano of the Bruins was just recently added. You may have heard of Auston Matthews and Kyle Connor. NHLers include Dylan Larkin (DET) and Noah Hanafin (CAR).
Possible NHL reinforcements: Plenty, but likely the younger ones such as Brian Dumoulin (PIT), Tyler Johnson (TBL), and Nate Schmidt (WAS).
Jersey grade: C-
The least interesting, least inspired of all the Team USA designs. I can’t for the World Cup jerseys to take over.


SLOVAKIA
Actual name: Slovensko
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? Bruins’ left wing prospect Peter Cehlárik. A few current and former NHLers, such as Martin Marincin (EDM), Andrej Sekera (EDM), Marko Dano (WPG), Tomas Jurco (DET), and former Bruin Andrej Meszaros. Other NHL projects include Christian Jaros (OTT), and Martin Reway (MON). Zdeno Chara will rest up and join Team Europe in September for the World Cup.
Possible NHL reinforcements: Jaroslav Halak (NYI).
Jersey grade: A-
A bunch of teams are red, white, and blue, but Slovakia came up with something bold, modern, and distinctive. The words of their national anthem forming the pinstripes is a wonderful touch. Love these.


BELARUS
Actual name: Белару́сь (Bielaruś)
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? The Kostitsyn brothers, Andrei and Sergei. One of their goalies, Kevin Lalande, used to be a Calgary Flames prospect (128th overall in 2005). Forward Artur Gavrus was a sixth round pick for the Devils in 2012. Most of Belarus’ roster comes from the KHL team Dynamo Minsk. They’re coached by former Bruins coach Dave Lewis.
Possible NHL reinforcements: Mikhail Grabovski (NYI).
Jersey grade: C-
Such red. Very loud. Wow. Pretty crest, though.


FRANCE
Actual name: France
2016 Rooster
Do I know any of these people? Cristobal Huet still plays goal for France at age 40. There’s also Habs’ prospect Tim Bozon of the St. John’s IceCaps. Undrafted defenseman Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel plays for the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL. Team France is otherwise scattered across the European leagues.
Possible NHL reinforcements: Antoine Roussel (DAL).
Jersey grade: B+
To answer the question I already know you’re asking: The Gallic Rooster (Le Coq Gaulois) is the unofficial symbol of France as a nation, signifying faith and light. The crowing of the rooster each morning represents the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.


GERMANY
Actual name: Deutschland
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? Head Coach Sturmface! Team Germany’s roster comes almost entirely from the DEL, including former Bruins prospect Denis Reul. Only four NHLers at the moment: Korbinian Holzer (ANA), Tobias Rieder (ARI), Christian Ehrhoff (CHI), and Leon Draisaitl (EDM). Dennis Seidenberg will sit out the WHC and instead play in the World Cup of Hockey in September.
Possible NHL reinforcements: Germany would get a huge boost in goaltending from either Thomas Greiss (NYI) or Philipp Grubauer (WAS). The only other German NHLer in the playoffs is Tom Kühnhackl (PIT), who’s having a good playoff season thus far.
Jersey grade: B
Bold and striking. It’s another in the Slovak template, but the execution is much better than the Czech Republic’s jerseys.


HUNGARY
Actual name: Magyarország
2016 Roster
Do I know any of these people? Nope. Hungary does have the oldest player in the tournament with Frank Banham at age 41. He had a few cups of coffee with the Mighty Ducks and Coyotes. Hungary is led by the Vas brothers, János and Márton. Team captain Márton Vas will be playing in his 15th World Hockey Championship tournament, and his second at the Championship Division level. The IIHF has a good article on him and his team here. Alternate captain János Vas was a second round pick for the Dallas Stars back in 2002 and spent a few seasons with their AHL affiliate Iowa Stars.
Possible NHL reinforcements: None.
Jersey grade: B
Simple but bold approach with their national colors. The red away jerseys really pop. They’re smartly matched with black shorts, so the look isn’t overly red or green. Great to see “Magyarország” instead of “Hungary”. The grade increases to a B+ if they wear these:

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