Only 12 months until we see some best-on-best international hockey.
With the format and schedule for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey officially announced Wednesday, we have projected a full Canadian roster for the pre-season tournament, set to kick off Sept. 17, 2016, in Toronto. (Spoiler alert: Sorry, Sid. This team has 100 per cent less Chris Kunitz.)
While we were tempted to consider up-and-coming homegrown stars such Nathan MacKinnon and Sean Monahan up front, and Dougie Hamilton and Aaron Ekblad on the blue line, we figure they’ll be safe bets to join Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel on the World Cup’s North American under-24 Team North America.
To be eligible for Team Canada, players must be 24 or older by no later than Oct. 1, 2016. Each roster must consist of 20 skaters plus three goaltenders.
Team Canada '16 will, of course, hold a healthy portion of carryovers from Sochi's gold-medal-winning outfit, but we've made some significant substitutions to the 2014 team's depth at every position.
Here is our early guess at how GM Doug Armstrong (plus assistants Marc Bergevin, Rob Blake and Ken Holland) will fill out the roster.
(Note: Player's age as of Oct. 1, 2016 is listed in brackets.)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (29)
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (28)
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (26)
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (31)
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (24)
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (27)
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (31)
John Tavares, New York Islanders (26)
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (31)
Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers (24)
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (28)
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche (25)
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets (24)
Rick Nash, New York Rangers (32)
On the bubble (a.k.a. outrageous snubs): Eric Staal, Logan Couture, Bryan Little, Jeff Carter, Patrick Marleau
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings (26)
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators (31)
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (27)
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames (32)
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (26)
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks (33)
On the bubble (a.k.a. outrageous snubs): T. Brodie, Brent Seabrook, Kris Letang, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Jay Bouwmeester, Johnny Boychuk
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (29)
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals (27)
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins (31)
On the bubble (a.k.a. outrageous snubs): Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Mike Smith