What you might not have known about Team North America
Feel comfortable on the bandwagon ahead of Wednesday's game
One of the best things to come out of the World Cup of Hockey has been Team North America.
They're young, fresh, fast and skilled. They are also the stars of the future who will represent Canada and America on the international stage in years to come.
Here are some facts to help you know the young guns a little better ahead of Wednesday's pivotal game against Sweden:
Team ... America?
That's right, the 23-and-under team is actually slightly more American with 12 players hailing from south of the Canadian border.
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However, it's really close. Of Canada's 11 players, the province of Ontario is most represented with four (including captain Connor McDavid).
Additionally, centre Sean Couturier was actually born in Phoenix, Ariz., to Canadian parents, who returned to New Brunswick after Couturier's father's hockey career ended. The 23-year-old chose to represent Canada internationally despite holding dual citizenship, so he's counted towards Canada's total.
We're No. 1!
Team North America is stacked with first-rounders and first-overall draft picks. The 23-man roster boasts five recent top picks in McDavid (2015), Aaron Ekblad (2014), Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Auston Matthews (2016) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011).
Outside of the No.1 selection, the Millennials tally 16 first-round picks, 10 of which came in the top-five of their respective draft year.
Only two players fell outside of the top 100 — goalie Connor Hellebuyck has the dubious honour of being the lowest NHL pick, going in the fifth round at 130th overall to the Winnipeg Jets in 2012. Of the skaters, Calgary Flames star Johnny "Hockey" Gaudreau went in the fourth round (104th overall) in 2011.
Age is just a number
It's well known that Maple Leafs' Matthews is the youngest player on the team, having just turned 19 this past Saturday. However, as much as they've been dubbed "the kids," only three are actually still teenagers — McDavid and Jack Eichel are also only 19.
Eleven players are the maximum age of 23. Had they not pursued hockey as a career, they wouldn't even be college undergraduates anymore.
The oldest is Brandon Saad at 23 years, 10 months and 25 days.
Although many of the young NHLers are still playing on entry-level deals, many are set to collect big in the coming years.
Ekblad tops the list as he'll make $7.5 million US per season starting 2017-18 after signing an eight-year, $60-million extension with the Florida Panthers over the summer. Players already making the big dough include Nathan MacKinnon ($6.3M annual average) and Scheifele ($6.125M AAV).
Those figures don't take into account several players still in contract negotiations. Winnipeg's Jacob Trouba is still in talks, as is Flames' Gaudreau, who is expected to receive a huge salary increase coming off his entry-level deal.
The biggest bargain on the team? Look no further than Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray, who is North America's No.1 netminder and still has one year remaining on his entry-level contract with a $650,833 cap hit next season. Murray led his NHL team to a Stanley Cup victory in June.