NHL·Analysis

World Cup of Hockey: Top players coming off injury

While some NHL players will skip the World Cup of Hockey to get back to full health, others like Steven Stamkos and Zach Parise will use the upcoming tournament to test their recovery from injury late last season.

Giroux, Parise, Stamkos look to regain form at pre-season tournament

From left, Flyers' Claude Giroux, Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist and Wild's Zach Parise will compete in the World Cup of Hockey, starting Sept. 17 in Toronto, following an off-season in which they recovered from injuries sustained either late last season or during the playoffs.

The growing list of World Cup of Hockey no-shows includes Jeff Carter, Henrik Zetterberg, Duncan Keith and Frederik Andersen.

About eight others have chosen to continue their recovery from off-season injuries (Niklas Kronwall) and/or surgery (Jamie Benn, Alex Steen) rather than risk a setback at a tournament that precedes a rigorous 82-game NHL regular-season schedule.

Others have spent most, if not all, summer rehabbing an injury suffered late last season or during the playoffs and will use the event in Toronto to regain form while representing their country.

Here are nine that are game-ready.

Ben Bishop

  • World Cup team: United States
  • NHL team: Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2015-16 statistics: 35-21-4 record, 2.06 GAA, .926 save percentage
  • Injury: Strained ankle ligaments

The last image fans have of Bishop in game action is of him leaving the ice on a stretcher in the Eastern Conference final opener against eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh. But the 29-year-old is set to challenge Jonathan Quick and Cory Schneider for the starting job with the U.S. squad. Bishop's GAA and save percentage were career bests last season.

Claude Giroux

  • World Cup team: Canada
  • NHL team: Philadelphia Flyers
  • 2015-16 statistics: 78 games: 22 goals, 45 assists, 67 points
  • Injury: Off-season surgeries for hip, abdominal tear

"I don't feel like I have a 60-year-old hip anymore," says the 28-year-old centre, who posted a career-high 93 points in the 2011-12 season but last year saw his production dip to its lowest point since his sophomore campaign (16 goals, 47 points) in 2009-10. Giroux had only one assist in six games versus Washington in Round 1 of the playoffs.

Marian Hossa

  • World Cup team: Europe
  • NHL team: Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2015-16 statistics: 64 games: 13 goals, 20 assists, 33 points
  • Injury: Knee

The 37-year-old Slovakia native, who missed the final month of the regular season, is entering his 18th NHL season and needs one goal for 500 in his career. Hossa, who said in mid-July that he felt "pretty strong" after scoring three goals and five points in seven playoff games against St. Louis, appears to be transitioning from a top-line winger to a shut-down role on the third line.


Henrik Lundqvist

  • World Cup team: Sweden
  • NHL team: New York Rangers
  • 2015-16 statistics: 65 games: 35-21-7 record, 2.48 GAA, .920 save percentage
  • Injury: Eye

After taking a stick to the eye from teammate Marc Staal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, Lundqvist returned to play the final four contests of a five-game series loss to Pittsburgh but wasn't himself in the last two when King Henrik allowed 10 goals on 41 shots. There were off-season rumblings of a possible trade of the man with a full no-move clause that leads all active goalies with 55 playoff victories.

Ryan McDonagh

  • World Cup team: United States
  • NHL team: New York Rangers
  • 2015-16 statistics: 73 games: 9 goals, 25 assists, 34 points, plus-26
  • Injury: Hand

The steady defenceman is also coming off a season in which he suffered a concussion in early February after being sucker-punched by Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds. McDonagh, who was limited to three playoff games last spring, is the Rangers' captain, perhaps their most valuable player and could be a top-pair defender for some time after averaging more than 22 minutes a game last season.

Zach Parise

  • World Cup team: United States
  • NHL team: Minnesota Wild
  • 2015-16 statistics: 70 games: 25 goals, 28 assists, 53 points
  • Injury: Herniated disc in his back

An 11-year NHL veteran, Parise said he's "good to go" for the World Cup of Hockey after missing the Wild's final regular-season game and the post-season with an injury caused by a hit from San Jose's Logan Couture. Parise, 32, is looking to build off a 25-goal, 53-point season, a dip of nine points from the 2014-15 campaign.


Cory Schneider

  • World Cup team: United States
  • NHL team: New Jersey Devils
  • 2015-16 statistics: 58 games: 27-25-6 record, 2.15 GAA, .924 save percentage
  • Injury: Core muscle

Schneider, who is completely recovered from May 12 surgery, was one of the main reasons the Devils remained in playoff contention before fading late in the regular season. Head coach John Hynes will be leaning on the 30-year-old to help lead the team into the post-season for the first time since 2012.

Steven Stamkos

  • World Cup team: Canada
  • NHL team: Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2015-16 statistics: 77 games: 36 goals, 28 assists, 64 points
  • Injury: Blood clot in right collarbone

Stamkos returned from a two-month absence and April 4 surgery to play 11 minutes 55 seconds in a 2-1, Game 7 loss to Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference final. The Toronto native was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 but elected to stay in Tampa after leading the Lightning with 36 goals and finishing second to Nikita Kucherov (66 points) with 64.

Anton Stralman

  • World Cup team: Sweden
  • NHL team: Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2015-16 statistics: 73 games: 9 goals, 25 assists, 34 points, plus-16
  • Injury: Broken left leg

The defenceman returned from a near-two-month absence to score Tampa's first goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against Pittsburgh. Besides his offensive contributions, Stralman is a valuable right-handed shot and among the Lightning's best possession blue-liners that averaged 22 minutes per game last season, second on the team to Victor Hedman.

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