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World Cup of Hockey 2016: Get to know Team Europe’s Forwards

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All those European countries you forget about.

Anaheim Ducks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

If Team North America was a bit of an odd collection of players, Team Europe is downright bizarre. In reality, this is Team Europe Minus Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic — which I understand would sell fewer jerseys.

Team Europe opens the tournament against Team USA, which means we’ll get a chance to see future teammates Mikkel Boedker and Joe Pavelski square off right away. There are some interesting players on this squad including the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl, the Kings’ Anze Kopitar and Old Man Marian Gaborik.

Other than Kopitar there isn’t much in the way of star power in this forward group. There are several solid players, like the Mats Zuvvarello’s of the world, but this isn’t a team that’s likely to compete for the title. All the better, since they’re in Team USA’s group.

Team Europe Forwards

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Philadelphia Flyers (France)

Mikkel Boedker, San Jose Sharks (Denmark)

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Germany)

Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings (Slovakia)

Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks (Denmark)

Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (Slovakia)

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings (Slovenia)

Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild (Switzerland)

Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders (Denmark)

Tobias Rieder, Arizona Coyotes (Germany)

Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings (Slovakia)

Thomas Vanek, Minnesota Wild (Austria)

Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers (Norway)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mikkel Boedker

The soon-to-be San Jose Shark represents Denmark in the tournament and we’ll get a chance to see his trademark speed at work against the Americans.

Leon Draisaitl

One of the most fun young players in the NHL, Draisaitl represents Germany (as you might have been able to guess) and ought to bring some excitement to the squad.

Anze Kopitar

You know him, you (probably) don’t like him, but he’s a damn good player and will be the difference if Team Europe does any damage in this tournament.

Group: A

First Game: Sept. 17 vs. Team USA, 12:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2.