Speaking Of… Team North America


Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

Connor McDavid will get to practice being captain for an NHL caliber team, when he leads Team North America to a World Cup Championship with the “C” on his chest. There, I said it. 

Saying the young guns will win the tournament may be a little bit of a stretch to some, but I think they can definitely be contenders. Team North America will be the fastest, flashiest, and most entertaining team to watch this September, and you can quote me on it. Experience is obviously something that the team will be lacking, but in a two-week-long tournament anything can happen. All it takes is two weeks of a slumping Sidney Crosby, and that’s when North America slips in and steals the gold. 

Connor McDavid is far from the oldest/experienced guy on the team, but I don’t think this should stop them from naming him captain. He’s the best player on the team, and one of the best in the NHL. To boot, majority of the NHL believes he’s already to Captain the Oilers. Connor will be the guy everyone will be looking to, whether the team is successful or not. So in my opinion, they should give him the “C.” PLUS, have you seen his ball hockey skills?

Safe to say he doesn’t know what it’s like to be picked last. ?? #ConnorMcDavid #NHL #Oilers #BallHockey

A video posted by OilersNation (@officialoilersnation) on

Below you will find the roster for team North America. The forwards consist of ten centremen and three natural wingers. With that said, I found it next to impossible to string together a depth chart, so only judge my list a little. There is so much skill set in every one of these players, you could put any three of them together and you’re almost guaranteed a scoring chance. If good chemistry is what Todd McLellan is looking for, two weeks is not a lot of time to put that together. Tournaments like this can be a challenging time for a coach.


Gaudreau – McDavid – MacKinnon

Drouin – Nugent-Hopkins – Scheifele

Saad – Monahan – Eichel

Matthews – Couturier – Miller – Larkin


Rielly – Ekblad

Gostisbehere – Jones

Murray – Trouba – Parayko


Murray – Gibson – Hellebuych 

I think watching the young guns play will remind me a lot of the world juniors in December. I would like to see them play with some pizazz and take some risks out there. I want to believe that there is nothing to lose at the end of the day for team North America, but if i’m in there shoes, I would want to beat all the old guys so badly. With that said, I think we’re in for a very competitive tournament. Connor McDavid has quoted that there’s a “quiet confidence” within the group. We will find out how this little science experiment goes on September 18th, when North America takes on Finland in their first game. 

North By NorthGretz Podcast

This week the boys are joined by the one and only Gene Principe for a 90 minute discussion on hockey, life, and everything in between! Gene explains to the boys how he crafts a world class pun, shares a few memories of Rexall Place, and gives us his pick for the best place to get Italian food in this packed episode of the North by NorthGretz podcast.

  • McRaj

    A little bias there Chris. Nuge will probably be centering the third line (defensive role), with Couturier and Saad. Eichel, Schiefele, and Drouin would be a real good second line. Monahan with Matthews and Larkin for the 4th line.

    On D, you put Murray with Jones (chemistry) and ghost with either Trouba or Parayko

  • McRaj

    In other news, just saw the Top 50 Rated players in NHL 17 and Connor McDavid did not crack the list. The 50th rated player is Kuznetsov and he comes in at a 89 which means McDavid is less than that.

    What a joke, it’s because the game is made in Vancouver. Probably gave him the same or lower rating as the sisters.

  • fisherprice

    I’m straight up cheering for Team NA at the World Cup. It’s not the Olympics, so I feel a lot less need to express national pride – and no PK and no Hall? Pffffft. I know the depth is so strong on Team Canada that they’re still easily the favourite, but I can’t get behind a team that takes Weber/Pietrangelo over PK and Duchene/Couture/Giroux/Carter/Marchand over Hall.

    I also think that elite wingers are weirdly undervalued in today’s hockey world and it actually is a bad idea to play 13 centers in one lineup instead of getting some natural wingers in the mix. I mean, Canada will probably still win but I don’t think this is the best lineup we have to offer.

    Team NA is young, fast, and deep at every position except maybe goal (although the cup winning goalie is the likely starter, so we’ll see). They won’t have the pressure of other teams and I think they’ll be super exciting to watch.

    I do think that Team USA kind of got shafted by this team existing. While Canada has the depth to not be hugely affected by having some of their best on Team NA, you can’t really say the same thing about Team USA. I’d even argue that Team NA has a straight up better roster than the US. That said, not feeling too sorry for the Yanks, and even if they had all their players available for them, it seems like they didn’t do a very good job of choosing their roster anyway. Jack Johnson makes the team but not Kevin Shattenkirk? Justin Abdelkader, Brandon Dubinsky, and David Backes but no Phil Kessel? What? Kessel was literally the leading scorer at the last Olympics and probably should have won this years Conn Smythe. They even had a chance to rectify that mistake and chose Palmieri instead. This is what you get with a Torts team, I guess. I’d honestly be surprised if they make it to the elimination rounds.

    I also want to see Team NA win just for the confusion surrounding what anthem they’ll play if they win. Yeah, I’m all in on this team.

  • boil-in-the-oil

    What with this being billed as an international tournament… “who owns the game”, and all. I’m waiting to hear what piece of music will they play, in place of a national anthem, when Team North America wins. Just curious.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    A year ago Parayko was a training camp hopeful, now he’s on a loaded and studly defense for team Canada with some of the world’s best. Good on him

  • knee deep in it

    I hate those lines. mcdavid and gaudreau would be good if you played with two pucks.

    I put Johny H with his normal linemate (monahan) and slide Saad up to first line.