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Team Europe: World Cup Preview, Roster & Schedule

The World Cup of Hockey starts on Saturday, Sept. 17. While pre-tournament games begin this evening, the xHockeyProducts team is excited for the tournament to begin. That’s why we are breaking down every team and providing the chances every roster has to win it all.

We start with the NHL’s conglomerate group of players, Team Europe. The roster is comprised of European players who do not hail from the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden or Russia. The roster features players from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Grouping

Group A Group B
Team Canada Team Finland
Team Czech Republic Team North America
Team Europe Team Russia
Team USA Team Sweden

Roster

 

Forwards Defense Goalies
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (France) – PHI Mikkel Boedker (Denmark) – COL Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) – BOS Thomas Greiss (Germany) – NYI
Leon Draisaitl (Germany) – EDM Marian Gaborik (Slovakia) – LAK Christian Ehrhoff (Germany) – Unsigned Philipp Grubauer (Germany) – WSH
Jannik Hansen (Denmark) – VAN Marian Hossa (Slovakia) – CHI Roman Josi (Switzerland) – NSH Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia) – NYI
Anze Kopitar (Slovenia) – LAK Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland) – MIN Dennis Seidenberg (Germany) – Unsigned
Frans Nielsen (Denmark) – DET Tobias Reider (Germany) – ARZ Andrej Sekera (Slovakia) – EDM
Tomas Tatar (Slovakia) – DET Thomas Vanek (Austria) – DET Luca Sbisa (Switzerland) – VAN
Mats Zuccarello (Norway) – NYR Mark Streit (Switzerland) – PHI

team europeStrengths

Team Europe boasts one of the top centers in the game. Anze Kopitar, last season’s Frank J. Selke Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defensive forward, will likely see top minutes in every game, shutting down opposing teams’ top forward units. If he can play at the elite level he has played in previous NHL postseasons, Team Europe will be as competitive as anyone.

Team Europe’s top defensive pairing, Roman Josi and Zdeno Chara, will prove to be a force on the back end. Although Chara, 39, is on the latter end of his career, he can still be a menacing presence with a blistering slap shot from the point. Josi will provide stability and the endurance to eat minutes in every contest.

Weaknesses

Outside of Kopitar, Mikkel Boedker and Marian Hossa, the potential top line for the squad, Team Europe could struggle to find consistent goal scoring throughout the lineup. Although the team has plenty of talent to make up a quality NHL roster (Leon Draisaitl, Tomas Tatar, Mats Zuccarello), the talent in Group A could prove to be difficult for Europe to overcome.

A major obstacle for Team Europe to conquer falls in the team’s inability to play international tournaments together in the past. This roster is made up of professional players from different countries across Europe. Every other team in this tournament will not have this barrier.

In total, Team Europe consists of six Slovakians, five Germans, four Danes, four Swiss, and one player each from Austria, France, Norway and Slovenia.

Leon Draisaitl OilersPlayer to Watch

Leon Draisaitl, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, has played in numerous international tournaments, including this year’s World Championships. Germans have watched the young forward develop into a reliable, hard-working scoring threat over the years, and the 2016 World Cup seems to be a premiere stage for the 20-year-old.

Slotted to play top-six minutes with Team Europe, Draisaitl will likely be embarking on a long NHL journey. With the 2016 World Cup kicking off what seems to be his first full NHL season, the Cologne, Germany, native will be as hungry as anyone to prove that he belongs skating with the elite.

What It Will Take to Win

A team that consists of non-countrymen will take a lot of time to gel within the tournament. Luckily, the NHL has included pre-tournament games, which each team participates in three. Europe’s coaching staff will have to work magic to bring this team together if they want a shot at winning the whole tournament.

Team Europe will have to hope that every player on the roster is dedicated. It will be difficult to play for a team in an international tournament that is not technically your home country. If the players can find a sense of pride and rally around it, they may have an outside shot of advancing to the semifinal round.

Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 17

Team USA vs. Team Europe, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

Monday, Sept. 19

Team Europe vs. Team Czech Republic, 3 p.m., ESPN

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Team Europe vs. Team Canada, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Feature photo courtesy aceattorneymvp | Flickr

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Tags : anze kopitarfrederik andersenjaroslav halakleon draisaitlmarian hossaralph kruegerroman jositeam europetomas tatarworld cupworld cup 2016zdeno chara
Jeff Ponder

The author Jeff Ponder

Jeff brings a wealth of hockey retail experience to xHockeyProducts, as well as a vast knowledge of marketing and content development. Jeff is also a former hockey reporter for various media outlets in the St. Louis area and has attended numerous NHL Entry Drafts. He has played hockey since the age of 10.