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2016 World Hockey Championship: Team USA Preview

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The United States will be looking for their first gold medal since 1933.

Matej Divizna/Getty Images

The 2015 edition of the IIHF World Championships saw the United States take home the bronze medal after a 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic. This year, the team is vying for their first gold medal at the competition since 1933. Technically they won a gold medal in 1960, however the World Championships were decided by the Olympic events.

Team USA is a young squad with names on the roster that include the projected first-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft; Auston Matthews. Mike Condon, who should be a familiar name for Canadiens fans, will be serving as a goaltender.

Other standouts suiting up for the stars and stripes include Detroit Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin, who made quite the impression on the NHL in his inaugural year, putting up 45 points in the process. Columbus Blue Jackets veteran Nick Foligno will play an integral part of the leadership group for the USA. The 28 year-old racked pup 37 points this season.

If their only exhibition game of the tournament against Finland serves as any indicator, Foligno will be playing with Larkin, as well as Vinnie Hinostroza of the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.

It will also be interesting to see how the line of the Edmonton Oilers' Matt Hendricks, Hudson Fasching of the Buffalo Sabres, and Miles Wood of Boston College gel together.

The aforementioned exhibition game against Finland didn't go quite as planned, as the Americans were defeated 3-2 by Finland.

Roster

Player Position League Current Team
Mike Condon G NHL Montreal Canadiens
Thatcher Demko G NCAA Boston College
Keith Kinkaid G NHL New Jersey Devils
Noah Hanifin D NHL Carolina Hurricanes
Jake McCabe D NHL Buffalo Sabres
Connor Murphy D NHL Arizona Coyotes
Steven Santini D NCAA Boston College
Brady Skej D NHL New York Rangers
David Warsofsky D NHL New Jersey Devils
Chris Wideman D NHL Ottawa Senators




JT Compher F NCAA University of Michigan
Kyle Connor F NCAA University of Michigan
Hudson Fasching F NHL Buffalo Sabres
Nick Foligno F NHL Columbus Blue Jackets
Matt Hendricks F NHL Edmonton Oilers
Vinnie Hinostroza F AHL Rockford IceHogs
Dylan Larkin F NHL Detroit Red Wings
Patrick Maroon F NHL Edmonton Oilers
Auston Matthews F NLA Zurich Lions
Tyler Motte F NCAA University of Michigan
Jordan Schroeder F NHL Minnesota Wild
Frank Vatrano F NHL Boston Bruins

Goaltending is reasonable decent, with Keith Kinkaid and Mike Condon between the pipes. Condon had a tough season with the Canadiens, forced to replace star Carey Price after an injury. He earned a goals-against-average of 2.71 and a save percentage of .903% through 55 games. He was a below-average starter this season, although it's hard to criticize him considering the workload and lack of defensive adjustments by the Habs.

Meanwhile, Kinkaid had a GAA of 2.81 and a SV% of .904% through 23 games for the Devils.

Defense appears reputable for the Americans, with Chris Wideman playing alongside Jake McCabe of the Sabres, and Noah Hanifin looking to continue a good rookie season, playing the starting role together with Arizona Coyotes standout Connor Murphy.

And you can't discount the possible offensive contributions from Larkin, Matthews and Frank Vatrano of the Boston Bruins, who split the season between the Boston and AHL's Providence Bruins, scoring 36 times in Providence.

A gold medal looks pretty tough to accomplish for the Americans this year, who are coming into the tournament ranked fifth in the world.

It'll be a battle for the squad against teams like Finland and not to mention Canada, who Team USA opens the tournament against on Friday.