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Road to World Cup

Team North America young, but talented

Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews highlight inaugural roster @NHL

Team North America, one of two new entries at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, is a collection of the best players from Canada and the United States who will be 23 years old and under as of Oct. 1. 

Among the forwards on the 23-man roster are the first two players taken in the 2015 NHL Draft: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres.

McDavid, 19, the top pick by the Edmonton Oilers, has won gold medals with Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship and the 2016 World Championship, and was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2015-16 (16 goals, 32 assists) despite being limited to 45 games because of injuries.

Eichel, 19, selected No. 2 by the Buffalo Sabres, won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey in 2015, helped the United States win a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship and was second among NHL rookies in scoring last season (24 goals, 56 points).

Auston Matthews, the first player taken in the 2016 NHL Draft, was runner-up for the MVP in Switzerland's National League A in 2015-16, then led the U.S. at the 2016 World Championship with six goals and nine points. Matthews, who will turn 19 on Sept. 17 -- the first day of the tournament -- will be the youngest player on the roster, and the only one who did not play in the NHL last season.

Team North America's roster includes players from 15 NHL teams, two of whom have played on Stanley Cup winners.

Goaltender Matt Murray, though still considered an NHL rookie after appearing in 13 regular season games in 2015-16, was a key to the Pittsburgh Penguins' run to the 2016 Stanley Cup.

Forward Brandon Saad, now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks championship teams in 2013 and 2015.

The roster includes two Calder Trophy winners: Forward Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche (2014) and defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers (2015). In addition to Eichel, forward Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames (2014) has won the Hobey Baker Award.

Gaudreau finished sixth in the NHL in scoring last season with 78 points (30 goals), the most by any Team North America player.

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