Seven members of team teal were named to 2016 World Cup of Hockey rosters on Friday, representing four different countries.
Caught up in the background for fans of the San Jose Sharks during the team’s first Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history was the finalization of the full 2016 World Cup of Hockey rosters last Friday.
Of the eight nations competing in the tournament, which begins Sept. 14, four will contain at least one Shark. This is the first World Cup of Hockey since 2004, and just the third since 1996.
Three Sharks will represent Canada, the tournament favorite: Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Thornton. The Sharks join the Kings and Blackhawks as the only countries with three-plus players on Team Canada.
Vlasic earned a gold medal in the 2014 Olympics as a part of Team Canada, and Burns notched 11 points in last year’s World Championship for his nation in which Canada won gold. Thornton is the only member of this year’s Canadian squad who also represented the country in the last World Cup of Hockey in 2004. Burns and Thornton were part of the final group of seven players named to the roster last Friday.
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Sharks captain Joe Pavelski will play for the United States, whom he was apart of for their fourth place finish in the 2014 Olympics and second place finish in the 2010 Olympics. Pavelski and Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane will be tasked with carrying much of the weight scoring-wise for the U.S. in order to have success against the powerhouses of Canada, Sweden, Russia and Team North America.
Two Sharks occupy a spot for Czech Republic: Tomas Hertl and Roman Polak. With a very suspect Czech defense, Polak is sure to see a fair share of ice time, as will the forward Hertl, who has 10 playoff points and continues to improve his game as a first-line power forward.
Joonas Donskoi will compete for his home country of Finland. The 24-year old had a fantastic rookie season in San Jose, notching 36 points, is extremely smart with the puck and will be a solid playmaker for the Finns. In his first senior international tournament last year in the World Championships, Donskoi scored five goals with three assists in eight games for his country.
Defenseman Paul Martin and forward Logan Couture may have had a strong case for their respective countries of the U.S. and Canada, but when legitimate NHL stars like P.K. Subban, Phil Kessel, Corey Perry and Kris Letang couldn’t crack their countries’ roster, it’s a difficult process. One could make a strong case for Martin, who plays more than 20 minutes per game for a team in the Stanley Cup Final and competed for the U.S. in the 2014 Olympics.
While this may be an exciting tournament to look forward to for fans and players involved – especially fans of teams not named Pittsburgh or San Jose – the seven Sharks honored to represent their country won’t put too much thought into it while they are zeroed in on the Stanley Cup Finals.
The full list of rosters can be found here.