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Drouin, Nugent-Hopkins, Matthews added to North America's World Cup roster

Team North America bolstered its roster for the World Cup of Hockey with seven additions.

There weren’t a lot of surprises with this group that may not win the tournament, but will still likely be fun to watch because they represent the future of the game.

“Selecting the second group of players was more difficult than anticipated,” said North America GM Peter Chiarelli in a statement. “We had a couple of the younger guys surge in the last segment. We wanted to ensure we had experience but at the same time, we also had to maintain our speed. The whole process was very interesting and in the end, we feel that we can compete and win. We have a lot of two-way players. We have size and range on defense, and we have playoff-experienced goaltending.”

Here’s who North America will be bringing to Toronto in September:

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

G John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
G Connor Hellebuyck, Manitoba Moose (AHL)
G Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins

D Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
D Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers *
D Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
D Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets
D Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues *
D Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs
D Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets * 

F Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
F Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning *
F Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
F Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
F Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
F Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
F Auston Matthews, Zurich SC Lions (Swiss NLA) *
F Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
F J.T. Miller, New York Rangers
F Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames
F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers *
F Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets
F Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets *

•  Props to Chiarelli for adding Auston Matthews to this list of players. Like with prospect Patrik Laine who was named to Team Finland, this will be the first time fans will have the chance to see a potential top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft playing against the world’s top players. The tournament is based in Toronto so there will no doubt be a buzz around Matthews if the Toronto Maple Leafs take the do-it-all center with the top selection in the 2016 draft.

• When the first 16 players for Team North America were announced in March, Chiarelli left Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins off the list. It was a tough call for Chiarelli because he’s the Oilers’ general manager and there was some thought that not picking Nugent-Hopkins would anger the player. Now Nugent-Hopkins is on the team and he has a chance to prove his boss wrong about the initial snub.  

•  Did Jonathan Drouin’s strong playoff run help his standing with the Team North America brain trust? It certainly couldn’t have hurt. Drouin had 14 points in 17 games with the Lightning this postseason and has gone from pariah to an important part of their future. At the time of the initial roster announcement he was suspended by the team for a failure to report to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch following a trade demand. The last two months have made a world of difference for Drouin.  

•  ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk was “very close” to making team North America’s roster. Seems the team’s staff preferred Matthews and Nugent-Hopkins at center. St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri was also not selected. Fabbri was arguably the Blues’ best forward in their most recent playoff run with 15 points in 20 games.

•  St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko played his way onto this team with a strong season. The 22-year-old Parayko has shot up the depth chart since he was picked 86th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and finished the year with 33 points and a plus-28 rating while averaging 19:23 of ice-time. During the playoffs he played solid two-way defense with seven points in 20:07 of action per-game. Parayko looks like a future defensive cornerstone in the making. 

Previously released final rosters:

Team USA

Team Sweden

Team Russia

Team Czech Republic

Team Finland 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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