The World Cup Of Hockey is an international, NHL-sanctioned hockey tournament that is scheduled to occur every four years starting in 2016. The 3rd World Cup Of Hockey is scheduled to start on September 17th and should be a thrilling battle between the world powers, after an unsettling finish at Sochi. Below we’ll analyze who the biggest favorites are for this tournament.
Team USA has possibly the best all-around player in Patrick Kane. Kane was simply on another level last season, finishing first in the league in points per game, goals created per game, and point shares. In addition to that, Team USA has one of the best goalies in the tournament as well in Ben Bishop. Last season, Bishop finished 2nd in save percentage, 1st in goals against average, 1st in goals saved above average, and 2nd in goals allowed adjusted. Team USA boasts an impressive young roster that has a legitimate chance to win this tournament.
While Team USA has the best player in the tournament, Team Canada has an unmatched arsenal of snipers and prolific goal scorers. Team Canada has Bergeron, Crosby, Stamkos, Tavares, Perry, and Duchene who respectively finished 14th, 7th, 7th, 10th, 9th, and 19th in goals last season. In addition to that, Team Canada also has huge defensive talent in Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, and Brent Burns, as well as possibly the best goalie in the tournament in Carey Price. Team Canada returns an experienced, veteran roster, which comes in as the sure favorite to win this tournament.
Team Russia is seriously talented this year, much more so than people recognize. Team Russia had 4 players finish in the top 20 in goals created (Ovechkin, Tarasenko, Panarin, Kucherov) as well as 3 players in the top 15 in powerplay goals (Ovechkin, Tarasenko, Malkin). In addition, Team Russia also has Pavel Datsyuk, who also packs some serious talent onto this roster. Despite Team Russia’s aging roster, their prolific scoring threats make them a serious contender in this year’s World Cup of Hockey.
Team North America:
This team is full of young, emerging stars who are the future of the NHL and provide an interesting twist to this tournament. Composed entirely of players ages 23 or younger, Team North America is absolutely star-studded, possibly even more so than the other international powers in this tournament. Despite their inexperience, especially in comparison to other teams, Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should fuel this elite team, making them a serious contender in this tournament.
Despite strong showings at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as hockey tournaments worldwide, I do not believe that Team Finland, Team Czech Republic, or Team Europe has a realistic to win this tournament due to the unbelievable talent the other 5 teams possess. However, as shown at Sochi (Team Finland finished 3rd, Team USA and Team Russia didn’t medal), anything is possible, which makes this rejuvenated tournament all the more interesting.
Data courtesy of ESPN, Hockey Reference, Fox Sports, NHL.com, and CBS Sports. Thanks for reading!
Written by Jason Platkin
Cover Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times