The pieces are starting to come together for the controversial under-23 North American that will compete at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Mark Spector is reporting that Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will be named on Wednesday to run the team. It was revealed Wednesday that he'll be joined by Chicago's Stan Bowman and that the team will feature American and Canadian players born after Oct. 2, 1992. Players who fit that criteria are not eligible for inclusion on either the Canadian or American team and must play for the Young Stars.
Essentially, that means players selected in the 2011 NHL draft or later will skate for Team North America. That sets up a daunting task for Chiarelli, who was part of Team Canada’s management at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and Bowman. While they’ll be able to assemble plenty of promising talent, including Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel (with Dylan Strome in the photo above), the top picks in 2015, the Young Stars will be in tough to compete against the veteran-laden sides. Only one player in that cohort, American Johnny Gaudreau, finished among the top-30 scorers in the NHL last season.
Still, they'll will have no trouble lining up a quality group of quick, offensively gifted skaters. He will, however, be at a distinct disadvantage between the pipes. Only one eligible goalie, John Gibson of the U.S., has any significant NHL experience, and he could be destined to spend this season in the minors after Anaheim picked up veteran Anton Khudobin. Chiarelli’s other options, American Connor Hellbuyck and Canadian Malcolm Subban, are likely to spend this season in the AHL as well.
Chiarelli has another interesting option to consider: 17-year-old American Auston Matthews. The top prospect for the 2016 draft is spending this season honing his game against men in the Swiss league and already boasts an NHL-ready frame that could make him a valuable addition to the Young Stars.
Here’s a look at how Chiarelli's team might stack up.