World Cup of Hockey 2016: All-Snub Team

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 9: Ryan McDonagh of Team U.S.A is introduced during the World Cup of Hockey Media Event on September 9, 2015 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 9: Ryan McDonagh of Team U.S.A is introduced during the World Cup of Hockey Media Event on September 9, 2015 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /


NOTE: Jaromir Jagr declined a roster spot so he is not included on this list.

Phil Kessel of the Penguins was a huge omission from Team USA’s final roster. How did Team USA not include their best forward from the 2014 Olympics? It is understandable that Kessel wasn’t among the first players chosen because he was still struggling at the time of the initial rosters. However, with his incredible postseason that could lead him to be the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, putting Ryan Callahan and David Backes on the team over Kessel is inexcusable.

Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers was the most shocking of all the omissions from Canada’s roster. It’s embarrassing that it has gotten to this point, but Hall is likely the most underrated forward in the NHL. He’s one of the most productive and one of the best overall, but unfortunately, he plays for the cursed franchise that is the Edmonton Oilers. Canada had some very tough decisions to make with their forwards, but it’s baffling that they didn’t include Hall; there aren’t 13 forwards better than him.

Alex Galchenyuk of the Canadiens was the biggest omission from North America’s roster. What does a man have to do to get named to a World Cup team? Apparently being a 30 goal scorer isn’t one of them because Galchenyuk wasn’t included on the North American team for players 23 years old or younger. Even though the team has comical depth at center (McDavid, MacKinnon, Matthews, Monahan, Scheifele, Eichel, Nugent-Hopkins, and Couturier), there’s no excuse to forget a versatile player who can be dominant on the wing and at center like Galchenyuk.

Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning, ironically, was probably snubbed from Team USA thanks to his teammate Ryan Callahan. If that is the case, Team USA clearly chose the wrong forward from the Lightning. Callahan is a veteran of Team USA in international play, but at some point, Team USA has to move on to other players who are in their prime like Johnson. Johnson has been phenomenal in the playoffs the past two seasons, and even in an off year that involved playing with an injury, was still productive.

Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, much like Fleury, was a victim of Canada having way too many options. He’d be on the roster for any other country, so he deserves to be included on this list. This omission is more of a testament to the depth of Team Canada than anything else. His lackluster playoff performance likely didn’t help his case. Neither did Canada’s tendency to load up on centers.

Just like Galchenyuk, Robby Fabbri of the Blues was doomed by the depth of Team North America. Still, considering how impressive Fabbri was as a rookie, hard to imagine that they couldn’t find a roster spot for someone who is coming off an extremely impressive performance in the playoffs.

Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres was likely snubbed from Team Canada’s roster because, well, Canada has so many good forwards it’s ridiculous. He’s a do-it-all center who can score at an above average rate while shutting down his opposition. Considering his shut down ability, it’s hard for Canada to justify not including him. A forward line of Jonathan Toews, O’Reilly, and Joe Thornton could shut down any other forward line in the world. He was a victim of the numbers game, but you could make a really good argument that he should have been on Canada’s final roster.

Boone Jenner of the Columbus Blue Jackets would have added the right kind of grit to Team North America. He isn’t just a gritty forward, he’s a very skilled gritty forward. Grit doesn’t really have much of a purpose by itself in international play, but it’s hard to imagine that Team North America left Jenner off the team, especially since they included his teammate Brandon Saad. Jenner is the correct kind of grit for international play.

Kyle Palmieri of the New Jersey Devils is a very underrated scorer who would have been an excellent fit for Team USA. Looking at their forwards and comparing them to the rest of the teams, Palmieri is a questionable omission, especially with Justin Abdelkader and Callahan getting roster spots.

Mikael Backlund of the Flames was a questionable omission from Team Sweden. He’s arguably one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL, consistently having success and scoring at a nice rate despite being asked to start in the defensive zone often. Sweden chose Marcus Kruger of the Blackhawks over Backlund. Their defense is roughly equal but Backlund provides more offense than Kruger. And let’s be real, fans want to see goals.

Marcus Johansson of the Washington Capitals was a victim of Sweden having a ton of options. Johansson is an underrated two-way forward who is a consistent second line forward when you compare his scoring rates to other forwards around the league. One could argue that he deserved a roster spot over Carl Hagelin, especially since Hagelin wouldn’t have the other two members of the HBK line with him while Johansson would have his linemate Nicklas Backstrom.

Andre Burakovsky of the Capitals played quite well for Sweden at the World Championships, so it’s surprising to see him off their final roster for the World Cup. Sweden would have been wise to reunite the Swede-ness line that the Capitals rolled out at times during the regular season and postseason with Johansson and Burakovsky at wing and Nicklas Backstrom at center. Chemistry counts during the World Cup. Looking at Sweden’s forward depth, that could have been a killer third line.

Brendan Gallagher of the Canadiens was an understandable omission from Team Canada, especially since Brad Marchand and Gallagher are very similar players. Marchand is better at what he does than Gallagher, but could you imagine a forward line featuring Marchand AND Gallagher? That’s a forward line that nobody would want to play against. They sure played well together at the World Championships.

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