Written by Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)
Last week all eight teams finalized their rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and, as is always the case in best-on-best tournaments, there were no shortage of notable omissions.
Let’s take a look at a few snubs that stand out from the rest:
For the first time in seemingly forever Corey Perry has not been chosen to represent Canada at an international tournament.
It’s not as if he is undeserving of a roster spot. Far from it, actually.
Over the last three seasons Perry has scored 110 goals. No Canadian player has scored more. Over the last three seasons Perry has averaged .48 goals per game. Steven Stamkos (.53) is the only Canadian who has averaged more. Perry also ranks 8th among Canadians in points (199), and 9th in points per game (.87), over that span.
He hasn’t just relied on the power play to inflate his totals, either. Over the last three years he is 6th in the NHL in 5 v 5 points (129) and 7th in 5 v 5 points per 60 (2.39).
By all accounts he has produced at an elite rate, and his reward for that is being left off Canada’s roster in the return of the World Cup of Hockey.
John Klingberg broke onto the scene early in the 2014-15 campaign and has since emerged as one of the top defensemen in the NHL.
He has scored at least 10 goals in both of his seasons with the Dallas Stars and has combined to record 21 goals and 98 points in his first 141 games. That’s .70 points per game, which is good for 7th among blue liners in that span. Only one of the six players above him (Erik Karlsson) is Swedish.
Of the 98 points Klingberg has tallied, 51 came at 5 v 5. That ranks him 7th among defensemen over the last two years. As was the case with points per game, Erik Karlsson is the only Swedish blue liner to best Klingberg in that category.
There’s more to the game than just offense, obviously, but very few have been able to put up the kind of numbers he has managed.
When you factor in the Stars have been utterly dominant at 5 v 5 with Klingberg on the ice – they’ve controlled 55% of the shot attempts, 56% of the scoring chances and 56% of the goals over his two-year career – it’s puzzling that he was left off the team; especially when Niklas Kronwall, who hasn’t been half as good over the last couple years, was one of the first players named to the team.
Ask anyone who closely follows hockey and they’ll tell you P.K. Subban is a top-5 defenseman in the NHL.
Despite his undeniable dominance, Subban somehow was not deemed a top-7 blue liner in Canada.
Over the last two seasons Subban is 5th in points with 111 and 4th in points per game with .73. Only one defenseman on Canada’s roster (Brent Burns) has bested those totals.
On top of the ridiculous offensive production, Subban’s underlying numbers are also fantastic.
While playing big minutes against top competition each and every night, the Habs were still landslides better with Subban on the ice.
At 5 v 5 over the last two years the Canadiens have controlled 52.3% of the shot attempts and 55.9% of the goals. Without Subban those numbers drop to 48.7% in each category.
In other words his ‘defensive issues’ are way overblown, and his offensive totals speak for themselves.
He should have not only made Team Canada, but played a prominent role on the team.
How a 30-goal scorer can be left off the roster in favor of a guy who didn’t score 30 points (Ryan Callahan) is beyond me; especially when Palmieri would also rank top-6 on USA’s team in points.
There’s more to these decisions than simply offensive totals, however, that’s a pretty big part of it and I can’t help but believe USA wouldn’t benefit from another 30-goal scorer on their roster.
Considering the lack of pure offense the U.S. went with up front one would think they’d try and make up for it by bringing their best weapons on the back end. That was clearly not the case as Kevin Shattenkirk was surprisingly left off the roster.
Over the last two seasons Shattenkirk ranks 3rd among American blue liners in goals per game and 1st in points per game. Despite tallying 88 points in his last 122 games on a defensively stout St. Louis Blues team, America’s management brass did not think he was worthy of a spot.
Just two defensemen – Dustin Byfuglien and John Carlson – on USA’s roster rank among the top-20 in points per game over the last two seasons and only three (Ryan Suter being the other) rank in the top-34. They could use more offense on the back end and their decision to leave Shattenkirk off the roster is something I think will come back to haunt them.
All numbers via Hockey-Reference.com, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and War-On-Ice.com.