The Team North America Under-23 team was one of the most exciting rosters anyone will ever see. The World Cup of Hockey does not take place this year, but this post will take a look at what the team would look like if a reunion took place.
Several key players are no longer eligible due to age, including Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues, Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets. Other names include Brandon Saad, J.T. Miller, John Gibson, Connor Hellebuyck, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Surprised? There’s a strong argument to made that McDavid is the best player in the world, as he is coming off of an 100 point season. His inclusion alone practically makes this team a serious contender.
After a 40-goal rookie season, no analyst in the world will be upset that he makes this team over Max Domi. Matthews could centre his own line this time around, or shift over to the left wing once again.
He scored close to a point per game pace this season, plus he brings some much needed size. Eichel made the team last year, and he’s expected to play a major role this time around.
MacKinnon may notice a slight difference in the quality of his teammates, as he is used to playing on a 48-point team. He only scored 16 goals last year, but his skill level and International performances make him a clear lock for this roster.
He turns 24 on August 13th, so we will have to get this tournament started in a hurry. The speedy left winger is coming off of three straight 60+ point seasons.
Monahan joins his linemate in Gaudreau, and the duo can bring established chemistry to this roster. He’s coming off of three straight 27+ goal seasons, and he scored four goals in four playoff games last season.
Marner is a lock to make this team after a 61 point season, especially after his performance for Team Canada at the World Championships. He makes this roster even more incredibly fun to watch.
He’s played with Matthews, Marner, Gaudreau, Monahan, and Eichel in the past, so Tkachuk will be a familiar face to the other players on this roster. He brings size, toughness, and a strong net front presence after a 48 point rookie season.
Drouin made this team last year, and a 53 point season will do nothing to change that. His ability to play either wing adds versatility to this roster, and he is a strong puck carrier and playmaker.
Galchenyuk will join forces with his new teammate in Drouin, and he is only one year removed from a 30 goal season. Although he was snubbed from this team last season, several spots were opened up as many forwards turned 24.
Reinhart scored 47 points last season on a mediocre team, plus he provides a dependable two way game. This roster is stacked with left-hand shots, and his inclusion brings much-needed balance.
Auston Matthews made this team last season despite his lack of NHL experience, and Dylan Strome scored 75 points in just 35 OHL games this season. He’s played with both McDavid and Marner in the past, and figures to challenge for the Calder next season.
Why not? Keller is the best prospect in hockey, and this team is all about fun. His speed and skill combination will make him a top-end player sooner rather than later, and he could team up with Strome next season while challenging him for the Calder.
Just Missed: Brayden Point, Bo Horvat, Nolan Patrick, Dylan Larkin, Max Domi
He boasts 227 NHL games under his belt and he just turned 21 in February. He was injured in last year’s tournament, but he figures to play a major role on this roster.
Slavin is incredibly talented, and he probably should have made last year’s roster. He helps to cushion the loss of Colton Parayko on the backend, and figures to play in a shutdown role.
The 23 year old is coming off a big season with the Winnipeg Jets, and he is a clear standout in terms of Goals Above Replacement (GAR). Trouba also played on the left side in the past, and this provides some flexibility to the coaching staff.
Werenski just turned 20 a few days ago, and he already boasts a 47 point season as a rookie. As a left-hand shooting defenceman, he provides some much needed balance to this lineup.
Jones will join forces with his defence partner in Werenski, and this familiarity is important during short tournaments. He brings plenty of size at 6’4, and joins an already stacked right-side with Ekblad and Trouba.
Rielly is the third Maple Leaf to make this roster, and he returns to Team North America as a 23 year old. Despite his young age, Rielly already has already played over 300 NHL games.
Pesce joins this team as the seventh defenceman, and he can pair up with a familiar partner in Slavin if needed. He flies under the radar in Carolina, but continues to impress with his defensive play.
Just Missed: Mathew Dumba, Brandon Montour, Thomas Chabot, Noah Hanifin.
Other than McDavid, Murray may be the most valuable player on this roster, as the team does not carry a ton of goaltending depth. He’s played in the NHL for two seasons and led his team to two the Stanley Cup both years.
The Bruins prospect posted a .917 save percentage in the AHL last year, and he was a clear standout in junior. This team does not carry the luxury of having a second established NHL starter on the roster, so Subban will have to step up if needed.
Jarry has only played in one NHL game, but he did impress in the AHL this season with a .925 save percentage. The Penguins prospect could backup Matt Murray someday, so why not start now?
North America U23 Roster
|Auston Matthews||Connor McDavid||Mitchell Marner||Jaccob Slavin||Aaron Ekblad||Matt Murray|
|Matthew Tkachuk||Jack Eichel||Nathan Mackinnon||Zach Werenski||Seth Jones||Malcolm Subban|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Sean Monahan||Jonathan Drouin||Morgan Rielly||Jacob Trouba||Tristan Jarry|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Dylan Strome||Sam Reinhart||Brett Pesce|
Should McDavid and Matthews be split up? Probably. But who does not want to see a first line of Matthews, McDavid, and Marner?
What do you think of this roster? Let us know in the comments. With so many talented young players in the game today, it will be fun to see everyone’s roster.