Team Europe adds Gaborik, Sbisa and Bellemare to World Cup roster

If you thought the team of misfit toys for Team Europe couldn’t get anymore random, check out the complete list of “pan-European roster of players from birth countries outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden” as assembled by GM Miroslav Satan.

(Ed. note: Bolded names are final additions.)

G Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks (Denmark)
G Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders (Germany) *
G Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders (Slovakia)

D Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (Slovakia)
D Christian Ehrhoff, Chicago Blackhawks (Germany) *
D Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Switzerland)
D Luca Sbisa, Vancouver Canucks (Switzerland) *
D Dennis Seidenberg, Boston Bruins (Germany)
D Andrej Sekera, Edmonton Oilers (Slovakia)
D Mark Streit, Philadelphia Flyers (Switzerland)

F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Philadelphia Flyers (France) *
F Mikkel Boedker, Colorado Avalanche (Denmark)
F Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Germany)
F Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings (Slovakia) *
F Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks (Denmark)
F Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (Slovakia)
F Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings (Slovenia)
F Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild (Switzerland) *
F Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders (Denmark)
F Tobias Rieder, Arizona Coyotes (Germany) *
F Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings (Slovakia)
F Thomas Vanek, Minnesota Wild (Austria)
F Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers (Norway)

— Probably the most surprising player making the roster, at least to us, is Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. In his second NHL season with the Philadelphia Flyers, he scored 14 points in 74 games. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he was suspended one game in the playoffs for a ‘forceful check from behind’ on Dmitry Orlov. Not many prognosticators had him on their radar. Maybe Team Europe’s brass were impressed by his performance for France at Worlds…? He had 4 points in 7 games.

— When selecting from so many countries, there are bound to be snubs. Some of the most common projected roster players, and those on the bubble, to miss the final cut: Lars Eller, Zemgus Girgensons, Yannick Weber, Nikolaj Ehlers, Sven Andrighetto, Tomas Jurco, Martin Marincin, Marko Dano, and Michael Grabner.

— With the exception of Josi and Sbisa, who are 25 and 26 respectively, the rest of the d-men will all be over the age of 30 by the time the tournament rolls around. They’re all left-handed shots, too. Had they opted for Yannick Weber or even Raphael Diaz, they would have gotten a right-hander.

— It will be interesting to see how coach Ralph Krueger handles the net. Both Greiss and Andersen had big playoffs for their respective NHL teams. Greiss exceeded expectations helping the Isles advance to the second round. His teammate in both the World Cup and on the Isles, Halak, was added in the first round of roster releases, and four days later he injured his groin. He missed the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. In May, it was announced he needed surgery to repair a sports hernia. Have to imagine Garth Snow is nervous about allowing his $4.5-million AAV goaltender test that groin in the World Cup.