Zach Hyman – Connor McDavid – Mitchell Marner
Sam Reinhart – Nathan MacKinnon – Brayden Point
Steven Stamkos – Sidney Crosby – Connor Bedard
Brad Marchand – Robert Thomas – Mark Stone
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Josh Morrissey – Noah Dobson
Morgan Rielly – Evan Bouchard
Adin Hill, Stuart Skinner
Carter Verhaeghe, Drew Doughty, Samuel Montembeault
The best defense is offense – and Canada is brimming with offensive talent. The center line is extraordinary. On the wings, we find as many snipers as elite passers and players with character. You can also have fun with combinations. My colleague Guillaume Lefrançois suggests bringing together three Nova Scotians who train together in the summer: Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand. I wouldn’t want to be the opponent.
Is there a place for Nick Suzuki? If there are any injuries, maybe. He’s in the chase pack, along with Mathew Barzal, Carter Verhaeghe, Ryan O’Reilly and Mark Scheifele. We can add Jonathan Marchessault to this group. On defense, Michael Matheson is one of the most productive Canadians. However, with all this strike force up front, it is likely that we will prefer backs with a more defensive profile. Thomas Chabot, who has a successful track record on the international scene, will be part of the conversation.
The best chance to see a Canadian player or a Quebecer is probably Samuel Montembeault. Canada does not have an established number one. The position will go to the best goalkeeper next season. Adin Hill, brilliant since last spring’s playoffs, leaves with a head start. I like Montembeault’s chances as a number two or backup.
Jack Hughes – Auston Matthews – Matthew Tkachuk
Jason Robertson – Jack Eichel – Clayton Keller
Jake Guentzel – JT Miller – Brock Boeser
Brady Tkachuk – Dylan Larkin – Vincent Trocheck
Quinn Hughes – Adam Fox
Jaccob Slavin – Charlie McAvoy
Luke Hughes–Brock Faber
Connor Hellebuyck, Jeremy Swayman
Alex DeBrincat, Zach Werenski, Thatcher Demko
The United States will not suffer from any inferiority complex. They are banking on the best goalie in the NHL, on a strong and mobile defensive brigade, as well as on forwards capable of filling the net. On paper, this team is well balanced and has no apparent weaknesses. Cole Caufield? After a start to the season below expectations, he is getting back on track. He will have to produce at the same rate as his last 10 games to hope to dislodge one of the wingers on this list. At the moment he is not in the top 15 attackers for goals or points.
Jesper Bratt – Elias Pettersson – William Nylander
Filip Forsberg – Mika Zibanejad – Adrian Kempe
Lucas Raymond – Joel Eriksson Ek – Elias Lindholm
Leo Carlsson – William Karlsson – Calle Järnkrok
Victor Hedman – Erik Karlsson
Rasmus Dahlin – Rasmus Andersson
Hampus Lindholm – Gustav Forsling
Linus Ullmark, Jacob Markström
Gabriel Landeskog, Jonas Brodin, Filip Gustavsson
Sweden’s strength is the quality of its group of defenders, to which I could have added Mattias Ekholm, Adam Larsson or Rasmus Sandin. The numerical advantage and the first line will be formidable. The other three trios are weaker than those of Canada and the United States. On the other hand, Joel Eriksson Ek and Elias Lindholm are among the best defensive forwards in the NHL. Mikael Backlund would be another option.
I made room for Gabriel Landeskog, who hasn’t played for two years, but has started training again.
Matias Macelli – Aleksander Barkov – Mikko Rantanen
Teuvo Teravainen – Sebastian Aho – Eeli Tolvanen
Artturi Lehkonen – Roope Hintz – Patrik Laine
Erik Haula – Mikael Granlund – Joel Armia
Miro Heiskanen – Henri Jokiharju
Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpää
Niko Mikkola – Olli Maata
Juuse Saros, Kevin Lankinen
Eetu Luostarinen, Juuso Valimaki, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
I love the center line. Except that elsewhere, it lacks depth everywhere. Aside from Mikko Rantanen and Miro Heiskanen, I don’t believe any other winger or defenseman would crack the Canada and United States rosters. It creates interesting debates. For example: Could Joel Armia be selected? He has had success with the national team, both among juniors and seniors. He is reliable defensively. And of all the forwards on the list above, he’s the only right-handed one, along with Patrik Laine. Since Finland is especially likely to play without the puck, and to absorb waves of attack one after the other, I would prefer him to Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Kaapo Kakko.