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Defending Team USA's roster choices

Phil Kessel has been a scoring machine this spring, but was left off of the final Team USA roster for the World Cup. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Team USA GM Dean Lombardi announced the final roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey team, and it didn't include some particularly notable names. Were his omissions game-breaking errors that will make the difference in an elite-level tournament, or simply less-important preferences for certain types of players on the secondary lines?

Every time a dream team is put together from such a rich talent pool, there are always questions and concerns about which players were included and which were left out. It's easy to build a case both for and against dozens of players.

In this case, the most surprising absences are all high-scoring players, like Phil Kessel, Kyle Okposo and Tyler Johnson up front, as well as Justin Faulk, Kevin Shattenkirk and Keith Yandle on the blue line. With one possible exception, these and other players were left off Team USA as part of a defensible choice to build a bigger, grittier team that has plenty of experience playing against the world's greatest hockey players.

Did Lombardi & Co. set themselves up for a disappointing finish this fall, or is this a roster that can stand toe-to-toe with any at the tournament?