Can a bunch of less-experienced, smaller men really hang with the globe’s best players 24 years and older? Or better/worse: How will it look if the Young Guns actually defeat Team USA or a stacked Team Canada?
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the reason to introduce mashup teams Europe and North America is two-fold: (1) to include more NHL stars in the international tournament, and (2) to compensate for the drop-off in skill once you go beyond the big four European hockey powers.
“There won’t be any easy or bad games,” Bettman assured fans.
The Young Guns squad will be co-run by USA Hockey and Hockey Canada, and headed up by general managers Peter Chiarelli and Stan Bowman. There is no quota for how many players must be represented from each country, just that they must be under the age of 24 on Oct. 1, 2016.
Selections will be made in March.
Here is our projected North American Young Guns roster for the pre-season tournament, set to begin Sept. 17, 2016 in Toronto.
(Note: Player’s age as of Oct. 1, 2016 is listed in brackets.)
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (21)
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (19)
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning (21)
Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks (23) [our pick for captain]
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (19)
Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes (21)
Ryan Strome, New York Islanders (23)
Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens (22)
Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames (21)
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets (23)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers (23)
Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (23)
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (23)
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (23)
On the bubble (a.k.a. outrageous snubs): Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett, Bo Horvat, Linden Vey, Curtis Lazar, Matthew Nieto, Sam Reinhart, Anthony Duclair
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers (20)
Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils (22)
Seth Jones, Nashville Predators (21)
Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets (22)
Dougie Hamilton, Boston Bruins (23)
Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets (23)
On the bubble (a.k.a. outrageous snubs): Morgan Reilly, Cody Ceci, Mathew Dumba, Noah Hanifin, Griffin Reinhart
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks (23)
Malcolm Subban, Boston Bruins (22)
Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets (23)
On the bubble (a.k.a. outrageous snubs): Zachary Fucale, Eric Comrie, J.F. Berube, Thatcher Demko