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2016 World Hockey Championship: Team Switzerland preview

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The Swiss face an uphill battle this year without several of their leaders, but they have a shot to improve on their results in recent years.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

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.

Roster

Although the final roster has yet to be announced, they are currently playing friendly games in preparation for the tournament with the following roster.

Player Position League Current team
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

Strengths

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.

Weaknesses

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.

X-factor

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.