Approach-Too-Early Projected Staff USA Roster for the 2025 World Cup of Hockey
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Information emerged on Wednesday that the NHL and NHLPA are working towards creating a global hockey competitors for February 2025 that will begin a rotation of occasions, which might additionally characteristic an NHL return to the Olympics.
It has been a very long time coming.
NHL gamers haven’t been concerned in a global, best-on-best match for the reason that World Cup of Hockey in 2016. They haven’t participated within the Winter Olympics for the reason that 2014 Video games in Sochi, Russia.
NHL deputy commissioner Invoice Daly stated the precise format for a 2025 match remains to be unknown, however it will set the stage for extra competitions.
“So if we do a ’25 worldwide match, we do the ’26 Olympics, the ’28 World Cup of Hockey, the ’30 Olympics, the ’32 World Cup of Hockey, and so forth,” he stated, per NHL.com. “That is the purpose.”
So, now that we all know plans are in place to deliver again that kind of match, let’s check out a possible 2025 Staff USA roster.
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Matthew Tkachuk – Auston Matthews – Brady Tkachuk
Matthew Tkachuk and Auston Matthews are fairly apparent picks for the highest line as a result of they’re the 2 most gifted American-born gamers going.
When Matthews is wholesome, he is likely one of the finest goal-scorers within the league and a near-lock to attain a minimal of 40 targets per 82 video games.
Florida’s Tkachuk does every little thing you need from a top-tier ahead. The 25-year-old scores targets, is robust defensively, is an elite possession driver, a top-line playmaker and brings an edge and physicality to the ice that almost all top-line scorers do not.
They’d match up towards nearly some other top-line duo on some other group in a best-on-best worldwide competitors.
Brady Tkachuk is the place issues go a bit of off the board, just because he’s enjoying out of place on this line.
Nevertheless, the USA is particularly deep on the left facet and thinner on the appropriate, so it is smart to shift him over to get him on the group.
The 23-year-old deserves a top-six spot, however it’s most likely not going to occur on the left given the presence of his brother and our second-line left winger, Jason Robertson.
All three gamers are bona fide top-line abilities and are all within the prime of their careers.
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Jason Robertson – Jack Hughes – Alex DeBrincat
This may be a sensational second line not solely by way of manufacturing and skill. but additionally in the case of leisure worth.
Jack Hughes, 22, had a breakout season for the New Jersey Devils in 2022-23, driving them again to the playoffs. He is one of many causes they are going to be a Stanley Cup contender for the foreseeable future.
Jason Robertson performs an identical starring position in Dallas the place he has change into some of the electrifying gamers within the NHL and a must-see spotlight reel each night time.
The 24-year-old has solely performed three years within the league however has managed to get higher each season. He already has a pair of 40-goal campaigns and will have a 50-goal yr on the horizon.
Identical to on the highest line, the USA would have a second line that’s carried by two utterly dominant offensive powers.
Alex DeBrincat is a robust proper winger to journey shotgun on this line and isn’t any slouch in that spot.
Like Robertson, the 25-year-old additionally has two 40-goal seasons and could be a top-tier scorer when he’s enjoying on high of his sport.
Taking part in on a line the place Robertson and Hughes would command many of the consideration might additionally open him as much as make a big impression. He has the quickness and the shot to essentially change a sport.
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Kyle Connor – Jack Eichel – Clayton Keller
It is a testomony to how deep the USA expertise pool has gotten lately when this is its third line.
Does it evaluate to what Canada may have the ability to placed on the ice? Perhaps it is a step under. However exterior of the Canadians, this is able to most likely be the perfect third line on any match roster.
Perhaps you would favor to see Tage Thompson centering as a substitute of Jack Eichel, and also you would not be incorrect to need that, however the Vegas Golden Knights star is a high heart when wholesome and simply helped lead his group to a Stanley Cup victory this previous season.
Accidents (and a dispute with Sabres administration) slowed him down lately, however the best way the 26-year-old performed over the past month-and-a-half of the 2022-23 common season and the playoffs is a reminder of what he will be when he’s actually rolling.
Kyle Connor, in the meantime, has been one of many high purpose scorers within the league since turning into an everyday within the Winnipeg Jets lineup. Going again to the beginning of the 2017-18 season, his 207 strikes rank seventh in your entire NHL no matter place or nation.
Clayton Keller’s star flip has been a more moderen growth with Arizona, however he has quickly put every little thing collectively offensively over the previous two years and carried out at a top-line charge with 149 factors in 149 video games.
And he has performed that with out the good thing about a legit top-line heart to feed him and after getting back from a fractured leg.
Give the 25-year-old full well being and a playmaker like Eichel, and the sky is the restrict for him.
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Jake Guentzel – Tage Thompson – Cole Caufield
Talking of that improved U.S. ahead depth, right here is 47-goal Tage Thompson centering the group’s fourth line.
After trying like a bust going into the 2021-22 season, the 25-year-old lastly put all of his measurement and expertise collectively for a breakthrough season that helped utterly change the outlook of the Sabres’ rebuild.
And if there have been any issues as as to if Thompson might duplicate that efficiency, he got here again in 2022-23 and was even higher.
He’s a menace for opposing defenders as a result of the 6’6″, 220-pounder not solely boasts huge measurement and an absolute bomb of a one-timer, however he’s additionally extraordinarily expert and gifted and may stick-handle his means by means of any kind of visitors.
On his wings we have now Jake Guentzel and Cole Caufield, which is a fairly spectacular assortment of fourth-line expertise.
Guentzel tends to get knocked down a bit of nationally as a result of he performs the majority of his NHL time alongside Sidney Crosby with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Although that does assist his manufacturing, there have been loads of actually gifted gamers who’ve had prolonged time subsequent to the nine-time All-Star and by no means scored targets on the charge Guentzel does.
The 28-year-old is an efficient participant all on his personal, has an amazing shot and is fearless in going to the online for his measurement.
Caufield is extra of a wild card and a choose based mostly on potential.
At this level, the 22-year-old is a gifted however considerably unproven winger. He is scored 53 targets in 123 regular-season video games in his profession for the Montreal Canadiens, a charge that comes out to 35 targets per 82 video games.
These figures can work nicely in match play and on a roster like this.
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Quinn Hughes – Adam Fox
Adam Fox is on the shortlist of most full defenders within the NHL and has change into a mainstay within the Norris Trophy dialogue.
The 25-year-old has by no means completed decrease than fifth in every of the previous three seasons, and he has two top-two finishes (together with profitable it through the 2020-21 season). He can quarterback your energy play, lead the exit out of the zone, is dependable in his personal finish of the ice and nonetheless produces big level totals.
Fox may not be the unquestioned finest defenseman within the league, however for those who listed the gamers who’re higher than him, you could possibly match all of them on one hand and nonetheless have fingers left over.
On the opposite facet you’ve got Quinn Hughes, and whereas his defensive sport could be a little inconsistent at instances, his struggles there are massively overstated and he stays some of the prolific offensive defensemen within the league.
Like Fox, the 23-year-old can be turning into an everyday in Norris Trophy discussions and completed within the high 10 for the primary time this previous season.
Each are legit No. 1 NHL defensemen and would make for a dynamic top-pairing.
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Jaccob Slavin – Charlie McAvoy
If the primary pairing of Fox and Hughes is dynamic, the second pairing of Jaccob Slavin and Charlie McAvoy can be regular.
Neither goes to be an elite participant offensively, however they are going to each do every little thing nicely with nearly no weaknesses.
They are going to rating sufficient and transfer the puck nicely sufficient to assist the offense, however that is not essentially the place their strengths are. They’re merely two sensational defensive gamers who might assist shut down any opponent’s high line.
Over the previous three years, there have been 238 defensemen who’ve logged a minimum of 1,000 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey. Throughout that point McAvoy ranks third within the NHL in anticipated targets towards per 60 minutes, whereas Slavin ranks thirtieth.
They’re seventh (McAvoy) and 14th (Slavin) in targets towards per 60 minutes.
Fox and Hughes could be the “high” pairing, however when you should defend a one-goal lead within the ultimate minute, that is the pairing you flip to.
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Zach Werenski – John Carlson
This could be the place the weak hyperlink of the Staff USA roster is.
It’s not that Zach Werenski and John Carlson aren’t good, or that the U.S. doesn’t have sturdy choices for a 3rd protection pairing, it is merely that there’s a fairly noticeable drop from what’s above them.
Prime Carlson was an elite Norris-level participant, however the 33-year-old has began to decelerate over the previous couple of years and has just a few extra flaws to his sport. Werenski, 26, remains to be an amazing offensive defenseman, however he most likely is not a real No. 1.
This may be the pairing you shelter for offensive-zone begins and rely on to assist rating. You additionally use it in favorable matchups.
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Connor Hellebuyck, Jake Oettinger and Jeremy Swayman
Nothing adjustments a group fairly like a goalie, and the excellent news for the U.S. is that it might have three excellent choices with Connor Hellebuyck, Jake Oettinger and Jeremy Swayman.
Hellebuyck and Oettinger can be the 2 major choices, and each are Vezina-caliber gamers.
Hellebuyck already has one Vezina to his identify, and three different finishes within the high 5. The 30-year-old is sturdy, can tackle a heavy workload each by way of minutes and photographs towards and is constantly some of the productive goalies within the league with a save share normally over the .915 mark.
He is likely one of the finest goalies on the earth and has performed that whereas enjoying on a Winnipeg group that has by no means been nice defensively and doesn’t all the time give him the perfect help.
Put him behind an precise good group and he turns into even higher.
Oettinger does not have as a lot of a monitor document as Hellebuyck, however what the 24-year-old has performed has been extraordinarily spectacular over his first two years with the Dallas Stars.
In 139 regular-season video games, he has a .916 save share and has proven flashes of being a franchise-caliber goalie.
Swayman cut up time with Vezina-Trophy winner Linus Ullmark final season and was a part of a goalie tandem that lifted the Bruins to a document Presidents’ Trophy marketing campaign. With a profession .920 save share and a 2.24 targets towards common, Swayman might be within the working for the No. 1 goalie place by the point 2025 rolls round.