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Jack Eichel named to Team North America roster for World Cup

The Buffalo Sabres will be represented by at least a pair of players in the upcoming World Cup.

Following defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen's selection to Team Finland earlier Wednesday, rookie center Jack Eichel joined Team North America later in the day.

Eichel is one of 16 players named to the North American squad – a collection of players from both the United States and Canada who are 23 years old and younger. That will make teammates out of players who have grown up competing against each other in international competition.

"It's never warm and fuzzy when it's a U.S.-Canada game," Eichel said during an appearance Wednesday afternoon on NHL Network after being named to the team, before quickly adding "it's going to be great."

Other notable players named to the North American team include Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin, Avalanche forward Nathan McKinnon and Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, as well as Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Given the North American's depth at center, the possibility exists that Eichel could shift to wing. That's something he said he's comfortable with.

"Nowadays most forwards are pretty versatile," Eichel said. "If I have to play win, I'm more than comfortable doing that."

The Sabres could still have other players named to World Cup rosters. Center Ryan O'Reilly is a candidate for Team Canada, while fellow rookie Sam Reinhart could join Eichel on Team North America for the competition in September.

"I think this is probably the best place for it to be, is in September," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think it's probably the best time for the guys to get together and be a part of a national team, a World Cup team and having the best players in the world competing against each other. ... I think it's an awesome showcase."


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