2016 World Cup of Hockey rosters: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan named to Team North America

It’s kind of odd that the World Cup of Hockey is branding itself as just that: a World Cup. While the 2004 World Cup had eight distinct nations competing against one another, the 2016 version just has six. 

The other two teams? A collection of various Europeans hailing from nationalities that didn’t make the main cut, and… North American children.

Players from Canada and the United States who are 23 years old and younger at the time of the tournament, to be exact.

And hey, you know what? The Calgary Flames are a rebuilding team. As such, they have a lot of players 23 and under. In fact, they have a lot of good players 23 and under. And so, two Flames have been named to Team North America’s initial 16-men roster: Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

And that’s not even counting Sam Bennett and Dougie Hamilton, who can still be named to the team on June 1, when the final seven spots will be named.

The thing I love about Team North America is it answers the age old question: “If I threw all caution and logic of team building to the wind and simply selected every kid who’s really, really good at hockey, how kick ass would it be to watch them?” Because we know you can’t really have a team composed of just kids and expect it to be successful against other teams – over the long term.

Over a short tournament, though? Hell yes you can.

And no doubt having a couple of young Flames is going to help them out. 

Johnny Gaudreau

Johnny Gaudreau’s presence on the roster was, of course, a given. With 63 points in 62 games this season, he’s sixth in NHL scoring; he’s also the youngest scorer in the top 10 this year. Actually, the only player younger than him in the top 50 is Filip Forsberg, and he’s tied for 45th, so… yeah. He already has 128 points over 143 career NHL games, too.

Gaudreau, 22, is one of the most offensively dynamic players in the entire world; he was going to make any team he was eligible for, no question. He’s played in two big international tournaments thus far as well: in 2013 he helped the Americans win World Juniors gold, scoring nine points over seven games as one of his team’s leading scorers. And then in 2014, right after he played his first NHL game, he represented the United States in the World Championship, scoring 10 points over eight games as America’s second best offensive weapon. (Seth Jones, who he will be reunited with on this team, was number one.)

Sean Monahan

Then there’s his centre, Sean Monahan. At 21 years of age, he’s playing his third NHL season already – and has three straight 20+ goal seasons under his belt to match. With 140 points already put up over 218 games played, Monahan is second in scoring out of all players selected from the 2013 draft: just nine points behind Nathan MacKinnon, also on the team.

Unlike Gaudreau, Monahan doesn’t have as much meaningful international experience. He missed out on playing in the World Juniors due to his being in the NHL at the time. He did, however, play for Canada in the 2014 World Championships, but he only scored two assists over the eight games he dressed in, as he was ultimately used more as an extra forward than anything else. That certainly won’t be the case in this tournament, though.

The first 16

Think there’s room for Sam Bennett and Dougie Hamilton on there? Probably.

This is going to be a fun team to watch.

  • maimster

    Fun looking at which NHL teams are represented here. Three Blue Jackets! Flames only other team with multiples right now, although Oilers (Nuge) good bet to join that. Would be great seeing Hamilton/Bennett as well, most mocks I saw had Dougie but almost none had Sam.

  • Greatsave

    JT Miller? Really? JT Miller? He who has 67 pts in 177 career NHL games, JT Miller?

    17-17-34 in 63 games this season, about-to-turn-23 JT Miller? Versus 15-16-31 in 61 games, turning-20-this-summer Sam Bennett?

    Heck, even if we forget Bennett for a moment, where are the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Alex Galchenyuk, Mark Scheifele, J.G. Pageau, or the Arizona duo of Max Domi and Anthony Duclair? Or the aforementioned Nugent-Hopkins? You’re gonna send one of those guys home for JT Miller? JT Miller over even Robby Fabbri, Sam Reinhart, and Ryan Strome? Really?

    Edit: Let me add Boone Jenner to that list. Hell, some mainstream outlets even projected Jonathan Drouin. Nobody saw JT Miller coming.

    • King Quong

      Not always the best idea to have 4 scoring lines especially if the majority of the scorers play a one way game. Maybe they want Miller to add a different dimension to the team?

  • Howie Meeker

    Wow, only 9 points behind…imagine where Monahan’s point total would now be if he and Johnny were on the same line from day one. Definitely another example why the flames need another scoring winger for Bennett.

  • Greatsave

    To get back to the original question at the bottom of the article: I think Hamilton has a better chance than Bennett. There’s simply too much forward depth and Bennett has not distinguished himself from the rest of that pack.

    Hamilton on the other hand has played more NHL games (241) and scored more points (110) than any of the D-men selected or even in the conversation. Most outlets have him in the final roster projection, except Sportsnet who instead opt for guys like Trouba, Ceci, and Parayko.

    Edit: in other words, yes Hamilton, no Bennett.

  • 99 NOW 97

    From E-town. Mcdavid – Gaudreau , this could be worth the price
    of admission alone. Always cheer for Canada but i am already pulling
    for ” Team Punk ” …

    Go Kids !

  • RKD

    A no brainer, Johnny hockey is an elite forward with elite skill who can take over a game at any given moment. Monahan is your face off guy and can also given them offence. I definitely think Team North America would benefit from a guy like Bennett and his style.