Ranking the World Cup forward groups

Canada is stacked at forward, led by franchise centers like John Tavares, No. 20, and Steven Stamkos, No. 91. Oh, and there's also Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron ... Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP

The World Cup of Hockey features the best players in the world at every single position. There are stars all over the place.

But with all due respect to Carey Price or Erik Karlsson, the true star power of this World Cup is at forward. It's a best-on-best tournament like we haven't seen before because of Team North America (the best players from the continent under age 24), and the event is going to feature forwards like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid and even a guy like Patrik Laine, at whom NHL fans will get their first real good look. It's going to be great.

Defense and goaltending have traditionally won championships, but the Pittsburgh Penguins just raised a Stanley Cup because they had a forward group for which no opposing team had an answer. A deeper group of forwards than everyone else can be a game-changer. With that in mind, here's a ranking of the eight World Cup forward groups: