Final Czech Republic roster projection for the World Cup of Hockey

Of the eight teams in the World Cup of Hockey, it's hard to imagine any bigger underdog than the Czechs. They are thin on the blue line and suspect in goal, and while they're blessed with high-end talent up front, they'll need to conjure up some special, 1998 Olympics-type magic to end up anywhere near the hardware when the dust clears in late September. My final seven picks for the Czechs are in bold.


He might be on our poster above, but ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr signed a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers but has confirmed that he won't be playing in the World Cup. The Czechs previously named KHLer Sobotka to the team, but for some reason, they seem to have a vendetta against Vrbata, who was left off the Olympic squad in Sochi. He's a proven NHL goal scorer, so he should be among this group. They have excellent depth down the middle, but the Czechs will need production from all four lines to stay in the hunt.


Let's be honest: The Czech defense is going to have come together and play far beyond what its on-paper skill set suggests is possible for this team to be a factor in the tournament. The Czechs named KHL player Kempny to the original 16, and Jerabek played well at the World Championships, so I gave him the nod over Michal Jordan and Jakub Kindl.


All three netminders were among the first 16 players named to the Czech World Cup entry. The question moving forward is whether Neuvirth's solid turn during the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Philadelphia Flyers against his old team, the Washington Capitals -- albeit in a losing effort -- vaults him into the No. 1 spot ahead of Mrazek, who was up and down for the Detroit Red Wings down the stretch and into the playoffs. It goes without saying that if it's Neuvirth, he'll have to replicate his work in the playoffs for the Czechs to have a chance in Toronto.