Switzerland has always been a middling team at the IIHF World Championship. Their one and only medal came in the form of silver back in 2013, where they went undefeated until losing in the final against Sweden. This included a stunning 3-0 defeat of the Americans in the semi-finals. Since that year, they have fallen back down the standings, finishing 10th in 2014, and eighth in 2015.
This year, they are playing in Group A alongside Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway, Denmark, and Kazakhstan. They should expect to make it out of the group stage, but will require key victories against Latvia and the Czech Republic to secure their spot in the round of 16.
At the helm will be new head coach and two-time Olympian Patrick Fischer, who had a long career in the Swiss National League A, as well as a brief 27 game stint for the Phoenix Coyotes in the NHL. He takes over from Glen Hanlon, who coached the National team for only two years.
Although the final roster has yet to be announced, they are currently playing friendly games in preparation for the tournament with the following roster.
|Reto Berra||G||NHL||Colorado Avalanche|
|Robert Mayer||G||NLA||Genève-Servette HC|
|Sandro Zurkirchen||G||NLA||HC Ambrì-Piotta|
|Eric Blum||D||NLA||SC Bern|
|Félicien Du Bois||D||NLA||HC Davos|
|Patrick Geering||D||NLA||ZSC Lions|
|Robin Grossman||D||NLA||EV Zug|
|Christian Marti||D||AHL||Lehigh Valley Phantoms|
|Noah Schneeberger||D||NLA||HC Davos|
|Yannick Weber||D||NHL||Vancouver Canucks|
|Raphael Diaz||D||NHL||New York Rangers|
|Sven Andrighetto||F||NHL||Montreal Canadiens|
|Gaëtan Haas||F||NLA||HC Bienne|
|Grégory Hofmann||F||NLA||HC Lugano|
|Denis Hollenstein||F||NLA||Kloten Flyers|
|Lino Martschini||F||NLA||EV Zug|
|Simon Moser||F||NLA||SC Bern|
|Reto Schäppi||F||NLA||ZSC Lions|
|Morris Trachsler||F||NLA||ZSC Lions|
|Julian Walker||F||NLA||HC Lugano|
|Samuel Walser||F||NLA||HC Davos|
|Dino Weiser||F||NLA||HC Davos|
|Marc Weiser||F||NLA||HC Davos|
|Nino Niederreiter||F||NHL||Minnesota Wild|
Offensive threats on the team to look out for will be Lino Martschini, Marc Wieser, and Andres Ambühl. Gregory Hofmann has also emerged as a scoring threat during the friendly games in preparation for the tournament.
The offence will have strong support from the blueline with offensive defenders like Eric Blum, as well as experienced NHL veterans Yannick Weber and Raphael Diaz.
Reto Berra stands to be the starter for the tournament, so they'll also have a dependable netminder backing them up.
The Swiss team will be missing several key players in this year's tournament, including National captain Mark Streit who declared forfeit due to injuries stemming from the Stanley Cup playoffs. They will also be without their top offensive threat Damien Brunner who suffered a concussion during the NLA playoffs in early April when he received a elbow to the face.
With the Nashville Predators advancing the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Swiss team is still missing their MVP defenceman Roman Josi. While the World Championship doesn't start until the 6th of May, Josi's addition to the roster would unquestionably give the team an added boost should he decide to join the team if/once the Predators are eliminated.
Familiarity between the players they have could be a major benefit for this squad. They obviously looked a lot at the NLA when picking their roster, and it shows. They have five players from HC Davos, and three from the ZSC Lions. Having players who already know how to play with each other could make things a lot easier for them.
With the Minnesota Wild being bounced early from the playoffs, Nino Niederreiter returns to the Swiss team for the first time since that 2013 Cinderella run, and his presence will be a welcome addition given all the regulars who are missing.
Add in a speedy NHL forward in Sven Andrighetto, and you have a forward group capable of doing some real damage. Only time will tell, but the Swiss look like they have a real shot to get into the medal round this year.