The Nashville Predators were well represented in the preliminary rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The rosters for the teams were released today and four Nashville Predators made the first announced names. The tournament itself is six months out, but the teams are today releasing their preliminary rosters—the first 16 players, with seven more to be added by June 1. There are still Predators that could be added at that time.
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The much awaited 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be an international tournament held in Canada from September 17 to October 1, 2016. This will be the third time the NHL sanctioned competition will be held but it has been 12 years since the 2004 World Cup.
The eight teams competing were previously announced as Canada, United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden along with two all-star teams, consisting of Team Europe and an under-23 Team North American team. Team Europe is made up of players from any European country except for Finland, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
All eight teams announced their preliminary rosters today and here are the four Predators named along with their team:
Shea Weber – Canada
The Predators Captain and veteran of international play will play alongside Drew Doughty of the Kings and Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks to form a formidable defense. The team will be backstopped by a trio of world-class goaltenders in current Vezina favorite Braden Holtby of Washington, last year’s Vezina winner Carey Price of the Canadians and Stanley Cup winner Corey Crawford.
There will be plenty of scoring from the likes of Dallas Stars tandem of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn along with Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team will probably go into the tournament as the favorite after winning the Olympic Gold in Sochi.
Weber has been on many Canadian international teams, winning a World Junior Ice Hockey Championship gold medal in 2005, an Ice Hockey World Championships gold medal in 2007, and two Olympic gold medals at the 2010 and2014 Winter Olympics. There won’t be many other players that could say they’ve won those and a World Cup too.
Pekka Rinne – Team Finland
The Predators goaltender was named along with fellow goalie Tuukka Rask from Boston. The Finnish team is built around their goaltending and defense and has fared very well in recent international and Olympic tournaments. They are led on defense by Pittsburgh Penguin Ollie Maatta and on offense by the Panthers Aleksander Barkov and the Wild’s Mikko Koivu. All of the players named currently play in the NHL but may be joined by other national team members in June.
In an interview with the NHL, Pekka Rinne said this:
"“Huge honor,” Rinne said after Nashville Predators practice. “I’ve missed all of the Olympics. I’ve been injured at the wrong times and obviously have been in the World Championships a bunch of times. I think this is a different atmosphere for a player. It was a goal of mine going into the season and going into the next season to be on the World Cup team. It’s a huge honor, and I’m very proud of it.”"
Roman Josi – Team Europe
The Swiss defenseman will be an integral part of the team with players named from seven different European countries. He will be there with fellow Swiss defenseman Mark Streit from the Flyers but will be one of the youngest of a very veteran team. They will have two over 37-year old Slovakians Zdeno Chara from the Bruins and Marion Hossa of the Blackhawks along with the 38 -year old Streit.
The goaltenders are Dane Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks and Slovakian Jaroslav Halak, of the New York Islanders. In addition to those veterans mentioned, they will also have the talented forward Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings of Slovenia.
This team will have to get some chemistry in a hurry as most have never played with one another and will not have a lot of time to get to know each others game. They will have to depend on their veteran leadership to step up right away and play together. Josi should be a very important part of this team with his offensive rushes and large chunks of time on ice.
Filip Forsberg – Team Sweden
The talented young Swede was one of only four newcomers named to a team with lots of experience. Of the players named, 11 played on the Silver Medal winning team at the Sochi Olympics that lost 3-0 to Canada. Most of that team felt that with a couple of players that weren’t available then, they would have beaten the team from Canada.
This team is backed by all-world Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and has the Sedin twins on offense and Erik Karlsson of the Senators and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Coyotes for an amazing one-two punch on defense. Add John Klingberg, the young defenseman from the Stars in June and you may have the top defense in the world.
Forsberg should fit in well with this team as they are a puck possession and skill in an attacking style that is exactly what the young Swede will add. Before the teams were announced he was quoted by NHL.com:
"“It’s probably everyone’s dream to be able to play,” Forsberg said. “There hasn’t been a World Cup since 2004, I think, and obviously, that would be a great experience for sure.”"
In an interview with George Plaster on 102.5 The Game this afternoon, he reiterated what an honor it was for him to be named to the team.
It will feel funny watching the Predators playing for other teams against the Americans. There is a possibility that others will be named in June and former Predator Seth Jones of the Blue Jackets will be playing for the Young American team too. It’s six months away and we are already getting excited!