World Cup of Hockey 2016 Preview: Team Finland

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patrik-laine

This weekend, the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will begin, bringing with it the biggest superstars in the National Hockey League.  Starting September 17 in Toronto, eight teams will vie for the championship in a tournament not played since 2004.  Let’s take a look at the chances for Team Finland.

by Bryan Vickroy

The Finnish style of hockey may not be Finnish flashy, but the depth and steadiness has helped Finland become a hockey powerhouse.  Often overlooked, this team has added some flash with its new generation, including highly touted NHL rookie Patrick Laine.  In a pre-season tournament, play is expected to be a bit sloppy, and a disciplined, defensive team like Finland has the talent to beat anyone, including Canada.

teuvo teravainen

WCOH History

1996 WCOH:  5th Place

2004 WCOH:  2nd Place

Potential Lines

Left Wing                                           Center                                             Right Wing
Jussi Jokinen (FLA)                       Aleksander Barkov (FLA)            Patrik Laine (WIN)
Leo Komarov (TOR)                       Mikko Koivu (MIN)                      Mikael Granlund (MIN)
Joonas Donskoi (SJ)                      Jori Legtera (STL)                         Teuvo Teravainen (CAR)
Erik Haula (MIN)                           Valtteri Filppula (TB)                   Lauri Korpikoski (EDM)
                                                                                                                      Sebastian Aho (CAR)
Left Defenseman                             Right Defenseman
Olli Maatta (PIT)                             Sami Vatanen (ANA)
Esa Lindell (DAL)                           Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF)
Jyrki Jokipakka (CAL)                   Sami Lepisto (KHL)
                                                             Ville Pokka (CHI)
PEKKA-RINNE
Goalies
Pekka Rinne (NSH)
Tuukka Rask (BOS)
Mikko Koskinen (KHL)

Best Case Scenario

The goaltending calmly backstops the team to victories in all the group games.  A breakout performance by future superstar Laine carries the team deep, where they Finnish the job and take home the trophy.

Worst Case Scenario

Laine fails to live up to his hype this early, and the team struggles to score against higher powered offensive teams.  They struggle in group play, limp into the semifinals, and are meekly sent to the saunas without a title.

Team MVP:  Mikko Koivu

Breakout Star:  Patrick Laine

Leading Scorer:  Patrick Laine

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