Last week, we had a look at what chances the current San Jose Sharks players have of making the 2016 World Cup of Hockey rosters for their respective countries. What if we were to apply the same selection process for selecting the Sharks Exclusive World Cup of Hockey?
In other words, if we could choose players from the all-time Sharks roster, across generations, to fit into teams for the USA, Canada, Europe – who would make the cut?
In picking the candidates for the rosters, we look at the overall impact the player has made for the San Jose Sharks franchise. So the basic unit of measure is the combination of their longevity and scoring with the Sharks, with a few intangibles here and there. For example, Miika Kiprusoff was arguably the best Finnish goaltender to don teal uniforms, but he only featured in 47 games for the Sharks, so his impact on the team is trumped by the body of work put up by Antti Niemi.
Team Sharks USA Roster
Jan 13, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) looks on against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. The Sharks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
F: Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels, Tony Granato
D: Gary Suter, Justin Braun
G: Chris Terreri
A pretty solid roster for Team USA. The forward line has a good balance of scoring and defensive abilities, with all three forwards offering a complete 200-foot game. On defense, Braun (who just edged Jeff Norton of the roster) is paired with one of the better all-around defensemen in Gary Suter. Terreri’s spot in the net is probably the weakest link in the roster.
Team Sharks Canada Roster
F: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Owen Nolan
D: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Dan Boyle
G: Mike Vernon, or if you don’t like Vernon, we can always call Steve Shields – they had virtually identical stats while playing for the Sharks. Perhaps get them to play a game of “Rock-Paper-Scissors?” Perhaps make it best out of seven?
Too bad we never saw the Marleau-Thornton-Nolan line in real life – it would have been quite an amazing line with your prototypical sniper, playmaker, and power forward who could all score almost at will. The defense is not too shabby either. Vlasic should be a lock, and so should Boyle. Goalkeeping is not as impressive as the forwards or the defensemen.
Team Sharks Russia Roster
F: Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov, Alexander Korolyuk
D: Andrei Zyuzin, Alexei Semenov
G: Evgeni Nabokov
Nabokov is the highlight of Team Russia’s roster. Potentially the second weakest defensive unit (only beating Team Finland). In Larionov and Makarov – both offensive menaces in their heydays – Team Russia has two very talented players on attack who did not spend too much time in the Sharks uniform.
Team Sharks Europe Roster
F: Marco Sturm, Marcel Goc, Michal Handzus
D: Sandis Ozolinsh, Christian Ehrhoff
G: Arturs Irbe
The starting line-up for Team Europe is made up of two Latvians, three Germans, and one Slovakian. Ozolinsh and Ehrhoff would provide lots of much needed offensive support to the trio of players up front. With the exception of Handzus, Team Europe has great speed, and one of the most beloved goalies in the Sharks history. To think of it, it’s a pretty well liked team all around – who ever said anything bad about Sturm or Goc?
Team Sharks Finland Roster
Apr 9, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) blocks the puck as they took on the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
F: Teemu Selanne, Ville Peltonen, Ville Nieminen
D: Peter Ahola, get another forward to play “D” – Petri Skriko
G: Antti Niemi
The Anaheim Ducks icon is the best Finnish player in the history of the Sharks. Selanne really has to carry the scoring workload on this team. There will be little support from Peltonen or Nieminen. Defense is not intimidating either, with Ahola being the only Finnish defenseman in the history of the San Jose Sharks. The Finns essentially ice a power-play unit with four forwards, one defenseman, and a goalie.
Team Sharks Sweden Roster
F: Niklas Sundstrom, Nils Ekman, Johan Garpenlov
D: Marcus Ragnarsson, Douglas Murray
G->Extra Attacker: Ulf Dahlen, another worthy Swede, jumps in as the 6th skater
There has never been a Swedish goalie playing for the Sharks in the history of the franchise, so the Swedes are going with an extra attacker from the opening faceoff. Ulf Dahlen gets inserted into the line-up to compensate for an uninspiring forward line. Rest assured, Douglas Murray is on the team – he will save the day, and no one is going to come close to even making a shot on Sweden’s empty net.
Team Sharks Czech Republic Roster
Mar 29, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
F: Milan Michalek, Martin Havlat, Tomas Hertl
D: Vlastimil Kroupa, Michal Sykora
G: Lukas Kaspar. Yes. Lukas Kaspar.
Just like the Swedes, there has never been a Czech goalie playing for the Sharks. However, there will be no extra skaters here. We are going to get Lukas Kaspar, the Sharks’ first-round draft pick from the 2004 Entry Draft who scored only four points in the NHL, to mind the net. It’s hard to imagine him doing a worse job as a goalie than he did as a forward in the NHL.