COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad along with defensemen Ryan Murray and Seth Jones are among the first 16 players selected to represent Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the team’s management group announced today. The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be held from September 17 to October 1, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The top hockey players from Canada and the United States who are 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016 are available for selection exclusively by Team North America.
Saad, 23, has participated in two international tournaments with the United States, suiting up for Team USA in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships and the 2010 U18 World Junior Championships (gold medal). In his first season with the Blue Jackets, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native leads the club with a career-high 24 goals and is second with 40 points while playing in 63 games. Acquired in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks on June 30, 2015, he has recorded 76-90-166 in 271 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks.
Jones, 21, has previously represented the United States in the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Championships (bronze) as well as the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships (gold) and the 2012 IIHF U18 World Junior Championships (gold). He was named the tournament’s Best Defenseman at the 2014 IIHF World Championships and earned All-Star honors after notching 2-9-11 in eight contests. The Arlington, Texas native has set a career-high in assists with 2-21-23 and 18 penalty minutes in 63 games this season, including posting 1-11-12 and eight penalty minutes in 23 games since being acquired in a trade from the Nashville Predators on Jan. 6, 2016. Selected fourth overall by the Predators in the 2013 NHL Draft, he has 16-59-75 and 62 penalty minutes in 222 career NHL games.
Murray, 22, has represented Canada at three international tournaments. The Regina, Saskatchewan native became the second-youngest player to represent Hockey Canada at the IIHF World Championships after playing in the 2012 tournament and has participated in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships (bronze) and the 2011 World Under-18 Junior Championships. Columbus’ first pick, second overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft, he has collected 4-16-20 and 34 penalty minutes while playing in all 64 games with the Jackets this season. He has posted 9-35-44 with 44 penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating in 142 career NHL games.
Eight teams -- Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America -- will compete in the two-week tournament, featuring more than 150 of the best players in the NHL. All tournament games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs.
All eight teams competing in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey are announcing their rosters of at least 16 players today.