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World Cup

Searching for the final seven

Team USA evaluating nearly 20 players to fill out 2016 World Cup roster

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Correspondent

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  • 05:22 •

PHILADELPHIA -- There are seven spots remaining on the Team USA roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and the management staff has cast a wide net to find the right players.

"By the time it's done I would say it's closer to 20 [players]," said Jim Johannson, the assistant executive director of USA Hockey who is serving as Team USA director of hockey operations.

The first 16 players were named March 2. Now the task for Johannson, Team USA general manager Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles Kings), assistant general manager Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia Flyers) and senior adviser Brian Burke (Calgary Flames) is finding players to fill out the roster.

"You do start to get into specifics of what you're looking for," Johannson said. "I think working with Dean and Paul and [Burke], it's been a great process to see how much of the actual player breakdown has been involved. Not only with where guys are slotted but also the pool of players that we're looking at for the next spots."

Though he didn't mention specific players, among those not part of the first 16 named to Team USA were forwards David Backes (St. Louis Blues), Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning), Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh Penguins) and James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs), and defensemen Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes) and Kevin Shattenkirk (Blues).

Johannson said the final seven spots will be about finding which players the management staff believes can fill specific areas of need.

"We have pockets of players," Johannson said. "Guys are getting bracketed. We're looking at pools of players for certain roles on the team."

Johannson said the Team USA staff will use every game remaining before the final rosters are due June 1. That means regular season, Stanley Cup Playoffs and 2016 IIHF World Championship.

"I do think that without a doubt both the remaining part of the season and those that do have playoff potential is going to be key for continued evaluation," he said. "… At Worlds players get to play significant roles and multiple roles, so guys get a chance to show versatility at that tournament."

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