The NHL announced recently that they aren’t able to host the much anticipated World Cup of Hockey in 2024. The event is now scheduled to be held in 2025 however there is still much uncertainty. With controversy surrounding Russia’s eligibility as well as the return of Team North America and Team Europe, there are still question marks. With that in mind, we do know that we will see the likes of Canada, the USA, Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic. These five hockey powers all have immense talent pools and in this series will project who we could see suit up for their respective nations.
Starting off the series we have Team USA. The Americans haven’t won the World Cup since 1996 when they beat Canada, However, the US has seen an injection of young talent over the last few years and they will be on display at the World Cup. The Americans are likely the biggest threat to Team Canada’s repeat chances at the World Cup. Let’s take a look at what the Team USA roster could look like at the World Cup.
Projecting Team USA Lineup
M. Tkachuk- A. Matthews- J. Gaudreau
J. Robertson-J. Eichel-K. Connor
C. Caufield-J. Hughes-T. Thompson
B. Tkachuk-T. Zegras-A. Debrincat
HM’S: J. Guentzel, P. Kane, J. Miller, M. Beniers, T, Terry
Led by Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel Team USA boasts a forward lineup with a splendid mix of speed, skill, size, and scoring. Up front, the Americans have the star power to rival any nation in the world. They are as deep as it gets down the middle and has great complimentary wingers.
The Tkachuk brothers and Tage Thompson provide the size up front and can also fill the net themselves. But more importantly, they create space for some of the smaller guys like Caufield, Gaudreau, and Debrinca.
Some of the bubble guys like Patrick Kane and JT Miller could likely find their way onto the lineup. Their presence depends on how they age as the tournament is still three years ahead. On the opposite end of the spectrum, strong development from Matty Beniers could see him crack the squad as well. While shootout specialist Troy Terry and scoring winger Jake Guentzel have an outside chance at a roster spot.
J. Sanderson-A. Fox
Q. Hughes-C. McAvoy
Z. Werenski-J. Carlson
HM’s: J. Slavin, S. Jones
As far as the defense is concerned there likely won’t be many surprises. The Americans have two of the best defenseman in the world in Fox and McAvoy quarterbacking them. Quinn Hughes and John Carlson also provide them with some offense from the backend while Werenski is a stable presence. However, some might be surprised to see youngster Jake Sanderson on the top pair with Fox. However, in his rookie season, Sanderson is showing immense promise and in three years we could see him crack the squad. If not Sanderson the next best bet would be a defensive defenseman, Jaccob Slavin.
HM’s: T. Demko, S. Knight
In between the pipes, there is no concern for this team. They boast one of the best, if not the best goaltending pools in the world. Firstly, they have veteran netminder Connor Hellebuyck leading the way, the Americans also have a crop of young studs in goal. Jake Oettinger‘splay currently makes him the favorite for the backup position and maybe even the starter’s role in time. However, Thatcher Demko and Spencer Knight could both very well find themselves suiting up for their country depending on their trajectory.
The Team USA roster looks to be one of the best they’ve ever had. With their deep forward group and defense corps as well as stellar goalie tandem they will be a force. The USA may even be able to stop Team Canada from repeating as World Cup Champions. If any team is going to give Canada a run for its money, it will be Team USA.
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