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World Cup

NHL.com fills out World Cup rosters

Teams will announce final seven players by June 1

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Challenge accepted. 

After revealing the first 16 players on their rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday, the general managers and coaches for the eight teams mentioned how they've completed the easy part, and that naming the final seven players by June 1 will be far more difficult. 

Why wait? 

OK, the GMs and coaches want to wait because they have almost three more months to watch and evaluate and generally overthink the final seven players they want to put on their roster for the tournament that starts Sept. 17 in Toronto. 

Forget about all that. 

Factoring in balance, style of play, experience, and of course talent, here is a rundown of who the final seven players should be for each team in the World Cup, why they were selected, and a potential lineup featuring the seven additions plus the 16 players already on each team. 

Let's just call it a cheat sheet for the executives and coaches, not that they really need it: 

TEAM CANADA 

F: Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks), Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres), Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers) 
D: P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens), Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks), Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames)

Video: MTL@ANA: Perry slams home puck on PP to tie game

There's a lot of candidates, but it's about finding the right fits. 

The forward additions would give Canada seven righties and six lefties and would give coach Mike Babcock the ability to play two centers, each with different strong sides, on the same line. That's big for faceoffs and balance in general. 

Canada would actually have 10 centers on the roster with the aforementioned additions. They are Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Jeff Carter, O'Reilly and Giroux. 

The additions on defense would give Babcock a chance to balance his lineup. Giordano is the third lefty. Subban and Burns are each righties with big shots. Canada's right side would feature three big shots, including the biggest from Shea Weber, plus Drew Doughty's brilliant all-around game. 

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Taylor Hall - Sidney Crosby - Steven Stamkos 
John Tavares - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry 
Jamie Benn - Jonathan Toews - Jeff Carter 
Ryan O'Reilly - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin 
Claude Giroux 

Defensemen 
Duncan Keith - Brent Burns 
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Drew Doughty 
Mark Giordano - P.K. Subban 
Shea Weber 

Goalies 
Carey Price  
Braden Holtby  
Corey Crawford  

TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC 

D: Zbynek Michalek (Arizona Coyotes), Marek Zidlicky (New York Islanders), Jakub Kindl (Florida Panthers) 
F: Jaromir Jagr (Florida Panthers), Jiri Hudler (Florida Panthers), Andrej Nestrasil (Carolina Hurricanes), Tomas Fleischmann (Chicago Blackhawks) 

Jagr is the wild card.

Video: FLA@WPG: Jagr puts Panthers on top with goal in 3rd

Two years ago, Jagr said he was finished playing for the Czech national team. He's still making an impact in the NHL and seeing as the World Cup takes place before the season, it could give Jagr extra incentive (as if he really needs it) to ramp up his offseason training. 

The Czechs are lacking in defensemen, but they can add three who are in the NHL in Kindl, Michalek and Zidlicky, who will help them move the puck up the ice and contribute on the power play. 

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Ondrej Palat - David Krejci - David Pastrnak  
Andrej Nestrasil - Tomas Plekanec - Jakub Voracek  
Jiri Hudler - Martin Hanzal - Jaromir Jagr 
Vladimir Sobotka - Tomas Hertl - Michael Frolik  
Tomas Fleischmann 

Defenseman 
Marek Zidlicky - Roman Polak  
Jakub Kindl - Andrej Sustr  
Michael Kempny - Zbynek Michalek 
Radko Gudas  

Goalies 
Petr Mrazek  
Michal Neuvirth  
Ondrej Pavelec  

TEAM EUROPE 

G: Thomas Greiss (New York Islanders) 
D: Luca Sbisa (Vancouver Canucks), Christian Ehrhoff (Chicago Blackhawks) 
F: Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres), Marian Gaborik (Los Angeles Kings), Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets), Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota Wild) 

The additions of Girgensons, Gaborik, Ehlers and Niederreiter will make the skill on Team Europe's forward group formidable when you factor in Anze Kopitar, Mats Zuccarello, Marian Hossa, Leon Draisaitl, Thomas Vanek and Tomas Tatar.

Video: COL@MIN: Niederreiter beats Varlamov, ties game at 1

Girgensons is necessary because he'll fill the fourth-line center spot. Team Europe's top three centers are Kopitar, Draisaitl and Frans Nielsen.  

Ehrhoff and Sbisa would likely come in as the sixth and seventh defensemen, respectively, behind Zdeno Chara, Roman Josi, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrej Sekera and Mark Streit.  

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Mikkel Boedker - Anze Kopitar - Marian Hossa 
Tomas Tatar - Leon Draisaitl - Mats Zuccarello 
Thomas Vanek - Frans Nielsen - Marian Gaborik 
Nino Niederreiter - Zemgus Girgensons - Nikolaj Ehlers 
Jannik Hansen  

Defensemen 
Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg 
Andrei Sekera - Roman Josi 
Mark Streit - Christian Ehrhoff 
Luca Sbisa 

Goalies 
Frederik Andersen  
Jaroslav Halak  
Thomas Greiss 

TEAM FINLAND 

G: Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus Blue Jackets) 
F: Erik Haula (Minnesota Wild), Joel Armia (Winnipeg Jets), Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche) 
D: Petteri Lindbohm (St. Louis Blues), Jyrki Jokipakka (Calgary Flames), Juuso Hietanen (Dynamo Moscow - KHL)

Video: FLA@MIN: Haula steals, breaks away and nets lead

Teemu Selanne isn't coming out of retirement (we think) to play for Team Finland, but it shouldn't change the way the Finns play. They're always a pain in the neck for the opponent and they typically have just enough skill and will to go home with a medal. 

Rantanen is the most interesting addition. He's 19 years old and is having a strong first professional season in the American Hockey League with 48 points for the San Antonio Rampage. He's a big part of the Colorado Avalanche's future. 

The issue the Finns have is on defense. They're thin on the back end and may need to rely on three players who are not currently in the NHL. Esa Lindell and Lindbohm are in the American Hockey League. Hietanen is in the Kontinental Hockey League. 

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Teuvo Teravainen - Aleksander Barkov - Joonas Donskoi  
Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Joel Armia 
Leo Komarov - Jori Lehtera - Lauri Korpikoski  
Jussi Jokinen - Valtteri Filppula - Mikko Rantanen 
Erik Haula 

Defensemen 
Olli Maatta - Rasmus Ristolainen  
Jyrki Jokipakka - Sami Vatanen  
Petteri Lindbohm - Esa Lindell 
Juuso Hietanen 

Goalies 
Tuukka Rask  
Pekka Rinne  
Joonas Korpisalo 

TEAM NORTH AMERICA 

F: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers), Max Domi (Arizona Coyotes), Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers) 
D: Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia Flyers), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets), Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild)

Video: TBL@EDM: Nugent-Hopkins scores on power play

This is turning into one of the deeper teams in the tournament. You know it's a deep team when Nugent-Hopkins can't crack the first nine forwards selected and Gostisbehere and Trouba aren't among the first four defensemen taken. 

The swing players are Jack Eichel and Nathan MacKinnon. Both are centers, but moving them to right wing makes room on the depth chart for Nugent-Hopkins and allows Domi and Jenner to be the other two right wings. 

The team is so strong that Huberdeau might be the 13th forward. When healthy, he's a top-line left wing for a first-place team this season. 

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Dylan Larkin - Connor McDavid - Nathan MacKinnon 
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jack Eichel 
Brandon Saad - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Max Domi 
J.T. Miller - Sean Couturier - Boone Jenner 
Jonathan Huberdeau 

Defensemen 
Morgan Rielly - Aaron Ekblad  
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones  
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jacob Trouba 
Matt Dumba 

Goalies 
John Gibson  
Connor Hellebuyck 
Matthew Murray  

TEAM RUSSIA 

F: Ilya Kovalchuk (SKA St. Petersburg - KHL), Valeri Nichushkin (Dallas Stars), Alexander Radulov (CSKA Moscow - KHL) 
D: Nikita Nesterov (Tampa Bay Lightning), Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens), Alexey Marchenko (Detroit Red Wings), Anton Belov (SKA St. Petersburg - KHL)

Video: DAL@WPG: Nichushkin labels the top corner

The Russians went with only NHL players for their initial 16-player roster. It's a good step for a country that for the past two Olympics has split its roster almost evenly between NHL and KHL players only to lose in the quarterfinals each time. 

However, Kovalchuk and Radulov are no-brainers to be on this team. Nichushkin, with his size (6-foot-3, 175 pounds) and skill, should also be there. 

The defense is Russia's weakness. It won't get much stronger with the additions above, but the hope has to be that Nesterov, Emelin and Marchenko can at least keep pace. Belov, who played for the Oilers two seasons ago, would be the seventh defenseman. 

Russia would have six lefties and one righty (Marchenko) by adding the above three defensemen to a group that already includes Andrei Markov, Dmitry Orlov and Dmitry Kulikov.  

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Ilya Kovalchuk 
Vladimir Tarasenko - Evgeni Malkin - Valeri Nichushkin 
Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Nikita Kucherov  
Alexander Radulov - Pavel Datsyuk - Nikolai Kulemin 
Vladislav Namestnikov  

Defensemen 
Alexei Emelin - Andrei Markov 
Dmitry Kulikov - Alexey Marchenko 
Dmitry Orlov - Nikita Nesterov 
Anton Belov 

Goalies 
Semyon Varlamov  
Sergei Bobrovsky  
Andrei Vasilevskiy  

TEAM SWEDEN 

G: Robin Lehner (Buffalo Sabres) 
D: John Klingberg (Dallas Stars) 
F: Gustav Nyquist (Detroit Red Wings), Marcus Kruger (Chicago Blackhawks), Rickard Rakell (Anaheim Ducks), Carl Soderberg (Colorado Avalanche), Carl Hagelin (Pittsburgh Penguins) 

The Swedes are the only team to have six defensemen on their initial 16-player roster. That one of them isn't Klingberg speaks to the depth Sweden has on the back end. Klingberg belongs on the team though. It can't hurt to have more offensive players who can control possession. 

Video: DET@COL: Nyquist backhands no-look shot to tie game

Soderberg and Kruger would fill out Sweden's center depth chart, which already features Henrik Sedin, Nicklas Backstrom and, depending on where coach Rikard Gronborg chooses to play them, Alexander Steen, Henrik Zetterberg and Rakell. 

Adding Kruger and Soderberg allows Gronborg to play Steen and Zetterberg on the left side, where Sweden needs them most. Nyquist and Rakell fill out the right side and Hagelin can be a 13th forward used for his speed and penalty killing when necessary. 

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Filip Forsberg  
Gabriel Landeskog - Nicklas Backstrom - Loui Eriksson  
Henrik Zetterberg - Carl Soderberg - Gustav Nyquist 
Alexander Steen - Marcus Kruger - Rickard Rakell 
Carl Hagelin 

Defensemen 
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Erik Karlsson  
Niklas Kronwall - Niklas Hjalmarsson  
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman  
John Klingberg 

Goalies 
Henrik Lundqvist  
Robin Lehner 
Jacob Markstrom  

TEAM USA 

F: Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning), David Backes (St. Louis Blues), James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs), Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh Penguins) 
D: Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues), Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks) 

Kessel was the surprising omission on Team USA's initial 16-player roster. His style might not jibe with that of coach John Tortorella, but Kessel is too good of a goal scorer to leave off the final 23-player roster.

Video: TBL@TOR: Johnson records his second goal of the night

Johnson and Backes fill out the center depth, and van Riemsdyk is necessary since he's a left wing and the U.S. is slim at that position behind Zach Parise, Max Pacioretty and Justin Abdelkader. Van Riemsdyk also gives the U.S. more size. 

Like Kessel and Backes, Faulk, Shattenkirk and Fowler played for the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They've done nothing to hurt their chances of making this team. Matt Niskanen is the other option, but he's another righty, just like Faulk and Shattenkirk. The U.S. has only two lefties now with Ryan Suter and Ryan McDonagh.  

Potential lineup 

Forwards 
Max Pacioretty - Joe Pavelski - Patrick Kane  
Zach Parise - Ryan Kesler - T.J. Oshie  
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Johnson - Phil Kessel 
Justin Abdelkader - Derek Stepan - Blake Wheeler  
David Backes 

Defensemen 
Ryan Suter - John Carlson  
Ryan McDonagh - Dustin Byfuglien  
Cam Fowler - Justin Faulk 
Kevin Shattenkirk 

Goalies 
Cory Schneider  
Jonathan Quick  
Ben Bishop

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