ARLINGTON, Va. – Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden), John Carlson (United States), Braden Holtby (Canada), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Russia), Dmitry Orlov (Russia), T.J. Oshie (United States) and Alex Ovechkin (Russia) have been selected to represent their countries at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. In addition, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz will serve as an assistant coach for Team Canada. The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be held in Toronto from Sept. 17, 2016, through Oct. 1, 2016. The eight-team tournament will feature Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Team Europe, Team North America and the United States.
Backstrom, 28, has represented his country in six major international events, including two Winter Olympics (2010, 2014), three World Championships (2007, 2008, 2012) and two World Junior Championships (2006, 2007). The Gavle, Sweden, native has earned 58 points (17g, 41a) in 59 games this season and was selected to his first NHL All-Star Game. Backstrom ranks tied for first in the NHL in power-play assists (23) this season, tied for second in power-play points (26), sixth in assists per 60 minutes (2.16) and points per 60 minutes (3.05), eighth in assists (41) and tied for 10th in points (58). In addition, this season marks Backstrom’s eighth career 40-assist season. Since he entered the NHL in 2007-08, he ranks tied for first in 40-assist seasons (Ryan Getzlaf, Joe Thornton).
Carlson, 26, has represented the United States at the Winter Olympics (2014) and World Junior Championship (2010). The Natick, Mass., native scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the gold medal game against Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship. Carlson has registered 31 points (6g, 25a) in 47 games this season and since 2010-11, Carlson ranks first among American defensemen in blocked shots (908), third in goals (50), fifth in points (214) and sixth in assists (164).
Holtby, 26, will be representing Canada for the first time. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, native has posted a 40-7-3 record this season with two shutouts, a 2.22 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage and was selected to his first career NHL All-Star Game. Holtby earned his League-leading 40th win of the season on Tuesday against Pittsburgh, becoming the fastest goaltender in NHL history to reach 40 wins in a season (52 GP). This marks Holtby’s second consecutive 40-win season (2014-15: 41 wins) and the third 40-win season in franchise history (Olie Kolzig, 1999-2000: 41). Holtby is the 13th goaltender in NHL history to post multiple 40-win seasons. In addition, he is the seventh goaltender in NHL history to record consecutive 40-win seasons and the first since Evgeni Nabokov (2007-09). Since 2012-13, Holtby ranks first in the NHL in wins (127) and tied for third in shutouts (19).
Kuznetsov, 23, has represented Russia at three World Championships (2012, 2013, 2014) and two World Junior Championships (2011, 2012). The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native has registered 65 points (20g, 45a) in 62 games this season and was selected to his first NHL All-Star Game. Kuznetsov leads the NHL in primary assists (35), plus/minus (+30) and assists per 60 minutes (2.48), ranks second in points per 60 minutes (3.58), tied for third in assists (45), tied for fourth in multi-point games (18) and fifth in points (65). This season marks the first time Kuznetsov has reached the 20-goal plateau and he is the first Capitals player since Alex Ovechkin (32g, 53a) in 2010-11 to score at least 20 goals and record 45 assists in a season. The 6’2”, 192-pound center recorded his 100th career NHL/Capitals point on Feb. 9 at Nashville, becoming the sixth Capitals player since the 1987-88 season to earn 100 career points before 150 games played (Nicklas Backstrom, Peter Bondra, Dmitri Khristich, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin).
Orlov, 24, has represented Russia at the World Championship (2014) and two World Junior Championships (2010, 2011). The Novokuznetsk, Russia, native has earned 25 points (7g, 18a) in 62 games in 2015-16 and has set career highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus (+16) and penalty minutes.
Oshie, 29, has represented the United States at the Winter Olympics (2014), three World Championships (2009, 2010, 2013) and the World Junior Championships (2006). The Everett, Wash., native helped lead the United States to a shootout win over host Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, scoring on four of six shootout attempts. Oshie has earned 36 points (18g, 18a) in 62 games this season. Since 2013-14, Oshie ranks tied for fifth among Americans in plus/minus (+50), eighth in points (151), 11th in assists (93) and tied for 16th in goals (58).
Ovechkin, 30, will be making his second World Cup of Hockey appearance. The Moscow native scored one goal in two games with Russia at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Ovechkin has represented Russia in three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), 11 World Championships (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), three World Junior Championships (2003, 2004, 2005) and the World Cup of Hockey (2004). He has registered 58 points (40g, 18a) in 60 games this season and leads the NHL in goals (40), power-play goals (16) and goals per 60 minutes (1.95), ranks tied for fifth in plus/minus (+23) and tied for 10th in points (58) this season. This season marks the eighth time in his career and the third consecutive season he has scored 40 goals (2005-10, 2013-16). Ovechkin is the seventh player in NHL history to record 40 or more goals in eight of his first 11 NHL seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Ovechkin’s eight 40-goal seasons leads all active players and he is the 10th player in NHL history to post at least eight 40-goal campaigns. This season also marks the sixth time Ovechkin has been the first player in the NHL to reach the 40-goal plateau (2007-10, 2013-16). The only other players in NHL history who were first to 40 in at least six different seasons are Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito, who did it six times each.
Trotz, 53, is in his second season as head coach of the Capitals and his 17th season as an NHL head coach. The Dauphin, Manitoba, native has led the Capitals to a 46-12-4 (96 points) record this season, ranking first in the NHL in points and wins and marking the team’s best start (in terms of points and wins) in franchise history. The Capitals’ 46 wins are tied for the most victories through a team’s first 62 games of a season in NHL history (1995-96 Detroit: 46) and Washington is also the first team to earn 96 points through its first 62 games since Detroit in 1995-96 (96 points). Trotz has coached 1,340 games in his career and has posted a 648-517-60-115 record, ranking tied for ninth in NHL history in wins and 10th in games coached. He has served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Championships on four occasions (2002, 2003, 2009, 2013).
Four teams participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will hold pre-tournament practices and exhibition games in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 12-15, 2016. The United States, featuring Carlson and Oshie, will face Finland on Sept. 13, at Verizon Center and Sweden, featuring Backstrom, will face Team Europe on Sept. 14. In addition, Verizon Center and Kettler Capitals Iceplex will host practices for the United States, Sweden, Finland and Team Europe. Practice dates and times will be announced at a later date.