They might be young, but Team North America — especially forward Nathan MacKinnon — certainly isn’t lacking skill or confidence with the World Cup of Hockey approaching.
Earlier today at PHT it was prefaced that Team North America, with a roster that includes stars Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Aaron Ekblad and Jack Eichel to name a few, shouldn’t be taken lightly, despite a supposed lack of experience compared to players on the other teams.
Canada, with players returning from 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medal victories, may be the favorites.
But with a roster that possesses so much youthful skill, MacKinnon staunchly believes Team North America could do some damage when the tournament begins Sept. 17, and he made that clear when he met with the media on Monday.
“I don’t think there’s a more skilled team than ours. I’ll go against anybody’s roster and put ours against them,” he said, as per Sportsnet.
“We have the talent and the ability to beat anybody for sure.”
Almost 15 months ago, McDavid and Eichel went first and second overall, respectively, in the NHL Draft. They had been compared to each other for months before that, as it became clear they were the front runners to get selected in the top two.
Now, they are teammates. That’s a scary thought, depending on your perspective heading into the tournament.
“It’s great,” said Team North America coach Todd McLellan, as per the Buffalo News. “Wouldn’t you like to do that every day? … Tremendously talented, great hockey skills and skill sets. They’re teammates now, which hasn’t happened before but it’s happening now and it’s great to be a part of it.”
The roster assembled for Team North America — which is still searching for a captain, and that will be a development to keep an eye out for over the next few days — has also captured the attention of opposing players, like Steven Stamkos.