The World Cup of Hockey has now completed the group stage, with Canada, Sweden, Russia, and Europe moving on to the semifinals. Most people mocked the concept ahead of time, but once the tournament started, people realized they were hockey starved and have at least come around to the format. The pure entertainment of Team North America definitely did some things in there.
The problem is that the Senators only have one player in the tournament: Erik Karlsson. I was campaigning for Mika Zibanejad a couple months ago, but obviously that’s now irrelevant. So here’s my new list of the top-five Sens players who should have made the World Cup.
5. Craig Anderson
Huh, so maybe there’s a reason the Sens only sent one player. Of all the players expected to make the team’s opening roster, Karlsson is the only one not from North America. Makes it harder to put a player on one of the weaker teams, like Europe or Finland. The refusal to take players from countries other than Canada or the US may put the Sens at a competitive advantage.
All this to say, it’s not a surprise Andy didn’t make Team USA. He’s not in the top five American goalies in the league. I just needed a fifth to make my list, and he’s probably the next-most-likely.
4. Cody Ceci
Team North America’s defence was pretty good, but Ceci could’ve been brought in place of someone like Colton Parayko for example, especially as a powerplay backbone. Ceci’s 200+ games of NHL experience could have been an asset for this team.
3. Dion Phaneuf
Just making sure you’re still paying attention. My actual #3 is Bobby Ryan. Clearly the US decided to take grit over skill, so it makes sense Ryan didn’t go. Especially since he hasn’t been an offensive force recently like he was early in his career. That being said, this team was clearly starved for goals, and Ryan can still put them in at this point in his career. He finished 14th among right wings in points in the entire league last year. There are American players who weren’t picked that should have gone ahead of Ryan (Tyler Johnson anyone?), but there are also players (Justin Abdelkader) who went that really shouldn’t have gone ahead of Ryan.
2. Mark Stone
A lot of people laughed at Sens fans for being shocked that Stone wasn’t picked to Team Canada. And to be fair, I wasn’t shocked, more just disappointed. Mark Stone is probably the best Canadian right winger in the game right now. Corey Perry scored one more point last year than Stone, but he also played seven more games. And Stone is a defensive threat, master takeaway artist, and trusted penalty killer, while Perry has mostly been known as a one-dimensional player.
It’s funny that a team that insists so much on taking an equal split of left- and right-shooting defencemen is happy to take 11 centres to fill 13 forward roles. If the team had decided to actually pick a couple wingers to play winger roles, Stone should’ve been there without question. The good news for him is that he’s young enough this was far from his last chance to represent the country.
1. Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Again, Team North America’s roster was pretty good, but I’m still surprised JG Pageau couldn’t cut it. On a team that was all about offensive flair, having a guy who was a solid penalty killer may have been a good idea. Pageau would easily have fit in on the competition’s fastest team. On a team with more than its fair share of rookies, Pageau could have been a more mature voice. This one made too much sense to me, and yet it still didn’t happen. Even though months have passed since he was first passed over, I’m still more than a little surprised thinking about it now.