Jay Bouwmeester/Alex Pietrangelo, Team Canada
It wouldn’t be much of a hockey tournament if Canada didn’t come in as the favorite, and hockey’s homeland will very much be expected to win the Toronto-based tournament. Playing a key role for the team will be new Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo, as he’ll start out in a defensive pairing with Brent Burns and is likely to log some important minutes. The fact that Pietrangelo was selected to play with guys like Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber, Jake Muzzin, and Drew Doughty already makes a powerful statement about how highly-regarded he is at this stage, and if he performs well during the tournament, that could do even greater things for his reputation.
Having been the final defenseman added to Canada’s roster, it’s unlikely that Bouwmeester will play much of a role in the World Cup; it’s actually very possible that he’ll be a healthy scratch for much of the tournament. Since his lefthanded shot would provide perfect left/right equilibrium to Canada’s defensive pairings, though, and he usually has good chemistry with Pietrangelo, it’s possible that he could find his way into the mix at some point if Mike Babcock decides to make adjustments.