The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place in Toronto from September 17 through October 1.
Earlier today, the preliminary rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were announced, and the San Jose Sharks placed five players on rosters for the tournament this summer. Each of the eight teams released the first 16 names to their rosters and captain Joe Pavelski leads the way amongst Sharks players as he was named to Team USA.
The 31-year-old Pavelski was a no-brainer for the American team as he leads San Jose with 29 goals, 61 points and a plus-24 rating. He has represented Team USA at the past two Olympics, helping the Americans to a silver medal finish back in 2010 and recording one goal and four assists in six games in Sochi.
One teammate who Pavelski will square off against is defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic who was named to the Team Canada initial roster. Vlasic has always been under appreciated on the national level, but really broke out in helping the Canadians win gold in Sochi as he partnered with Drew Doughty on defense.
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Vlasic has continued his strong play as he is having a career season on the Sharks blue line. Vlasic has already posted a career-high with 37 points and is just two goals shy of posting a career-best in that category as well. He is often deployed against the opposition’s top line as he forms San Jose’s shutdown pairing along with Justin Braun. This is a well-deserved honor for Vlasic and will provide him another opportunity to showcase his talents against the best players in the world.
Two more names who weren’t surprises at all were recent addition Roman Polak and Tomas Hertl being named to the Czech Republic squad. Hertl has had a bounce back campaign for the Sharks on their top line as he’s posted career-highs in goals (15), assists (18) and points (33). This will be the first major tournament in which Hertl will represent his home country after a knee injury prevented him from making an appearance in Sochi.
Meanwhile, Polak will be expected to provide a steady, defensive presence for a Czech team that lacks many options. It wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Polak see heavy minutes for an underdog Czech team.
The biggest surprise in terms of Sharks being named today was Joonas Donskoi making the initial list for Team Finland. Heading into this season, there weren’t many people who had heard of the 23-year-old forward, but he’s been impressive in his first NHL season. Donskoi has 10 goals and 17 assists in 57 games in teal as he’s shown the versatility to play in any role throughout the lineup. Also, he was very strong for Finland during the World Championships last year where he put up five goals and three assists in eight games.
San Jose might not be done adding names to these rosters as teams have until June 1 to announce the seven additional names who fill up the final spots. Brent Burns and Joe Thornton should receive consideration for Team Canada as they are both having excellent seasons in teal.
Regardless, the Sharks will be well-represented at this event, and it should make for some very entertaining and exciting hockey when this tournament commences in the fall.