Oilers GM to help assemble World Cup Young Stars team


Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid.

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid.

Photograph by: Darren Calabrese, Edmonton Journal

The North American Young Stars NHL roster for the 2016 World Cup in Toronto is getting the dirty end of the stick because there’s a shortage of young players, but Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is intrigued by what his lineup could look like.

“We’re definitely going to be underdogs because of our age, but to watch players in their formative years is exciting,” said Chiarelli, who is co-GM of the Young Stars team with Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks manager Stan Bowman.

“The younger players are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the (international) experience the older ones have, but they have an advantage because the expectations aren’t as high,” said Chiarelli. “They’re younger and, at the start of a season, they may be a bit ahead (physically). At the end of the day, we have to piece together a team from two nations, Canada and the U.S., which is a challenge.”

Chiarelli won’t name names for the September 2016 squad (players have to be 23 or younger as of Oct. 1, 2016) because it’s a year down the road, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and fellow Oilers centre Connor McDavid should be on the team.

“I don’t have anybody pencilled in and I don’t like to say anybody’s made the team … but there are guys with jobs to lose,” he said.

If McDavid has a strong rookie season, he’ll merit strong consideration at centre, along with Calgary Flames’ third-year player Sean Monahan. American Jack Eichel, the second pick in the June draft by the Buffalo Sabres after McDavid went No. 1 to the Oilers, will be there as well, barring a mediocre rookie year.

“We’ll see how Connor plays and where that takes us,” said Chiarelli, who was part of the Team Canada management group for the 2014 Olympic gold-medal win in Sochi, Russia.

The Young Stars’ defence may be a strength with 2015 rookie of the year Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers) anchoring it along with Winnipeg Jets’ Jake Trouba and Toronto Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly.

“That’s pretty exciting. There’s Seth Jones and Dougie Hamilton, Matt Dumba, (Cody) Ceci. I’d like to say (Oilers’) Griffin Reinhart, but he has to make our team first,” Chiarelli said.

The biggest concern for the Young Stars will be in net. There are currently no 23-and-under starters.





Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid.

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid.

Photograph by: Darren Calabrese, Edmonton Journal

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