The list of the first 16 American players named to the World Cup of Hockey roster has been announced, and Phil Kessel is not on it.
Kessel, one of the United States’ top goalscorers over the past few seasons, was probably the most surprising omission, especially after representing the U.S. at both the ’10 and ’14 Olympics.
Here’s the U.S. 16-man roster:
G Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
G Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
G Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils
D Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
D John Carlson, Washington Capitals
D Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
D Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
F Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings
F Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
F Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks
F T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
F Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
F Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
F Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
F Derek Stepan, New York Rangers
F Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
Up front, other notables failing to make the initial roster include Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk, Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson, Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan and the Islanders’ Kyle Okposo — and it’s worth mentioning that Ryan and Okposo were two of the most notable “snubs” from the American team that finished fourth in Sochi.
On defense, Byfuglien has played his way onto the roster after being passed over two years ago. With spots still left to fill, the U.S. could go a number of ways on defense: Carolina’s Justin Faulk (who played in Sochi), St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Colorado’s Erik Johnson, Boston’s Torey Krug and the Islanders’ Nick Leddy would all have to be considered candidates.
In goal, there were few surprises as Quick, Bishop and Schneider are all enjoying outstanding years and fully deserving of their spots.