We are yet again left with questionable roster choices for the Korean national team. For the past few international events there have been players on the team who clearly do not belong there.
Players who were shown to be sorely lacking in ability to compete in the international men’s competition in Goyang have no place on the team for Sapporo.
As with any hockey team, if you don’t have solid goaltending you aren’t going to win and it is no secret that Matt Dalton is the key to victory for Korea. Countless times he has single- handedly won games for his club and the national team. He will be counted on to carry the burden in the Asian Winter Games as well.
Park Sung-Je (23 GP 7-16 Sv% .882 GAA 3.94), who was once Korea’s top goalie, has had a difficult season. Despite facing fewer shots and reduced workload his GAA is .52 to higher than last year. A major factor to his numbers has been a defense corps which has been suffering from injuries all season.
Park Kye-Hoon (17 GP 5-10 Sv% .883 GAA 4.28) is in his rookie season with High1 and has shown glimpses of what he can do in spite of his record. At the recent EIHC, Park looked shaky in his start vs Hungary; giving up 5 goals on 26 shots.
Eric Regan (41 GP 39 Pts +20) and Bryan Young (22 GP 13 Pts + 0) are veteran anchors for the blue line. Both can score, run a power play and get physical when needed. They’ll likely be split on first and second pairings for balance and also be used on pp and pk in a similar way.
Kim Won-Jun (39 GP 20 Pts +35) Lee Don-Ku (37 GP 15 Pts +24) and Kim Yoo-Hwan (45 GP 7 Pts +28) are veterans and roll between the 3 defensive pairings on Anyang Halla. The three have proven they can contribute on either side of the puck.
Oh Hyun-Ho (41GP 28 pts -23) is one of Korea’s smallest defensemen, but he is second in scoring behind Regan for scoring among Korean passport holders. Oh can also contribute on a powerplay. However, defensively he’s a career minus and hasn’t fared well in higher level international competitions.
Seo Young-Jun, a third year player out of Korea University seems to have a charmed life as he continues to make the national team despite having a poor performance at EIHC in Goyang, Korea. The youngster was often left scrambling and was ill equipped to handle the pressure.
Another year in college, a season in the Asia League or a year or two of having the honor to serve his country on the military team will give him the experience and a chance to earn his way onto the national team.
Korea is loaded with firepower up front. Eleven of the thirteen forwards are from the Asia League with eight players from Anyang Halla, two from High1 and one from the Daemyung Killer Whales.
Mike Swift (40 GP 51 Pts) the Jeremy Roenick of the Asia League, has been one Korea’s best offensive performers but can find himself in penalty trouble when frustrated. Swift is a gifted player who is also a fierce competitor I.E. He’s a real hockey player and hates to lose.
Mike Testwuide (44 GP 44 Pts). He isn’t the fastest skater, but he doesn’t have to be since he uses his big frame to protect the puck.When he’s not lugging the puck, Testwuide can usually be found camped out in front of the opposing goalie creating havoc.
Kim Sang-Wook (45 GP 61 Pts) is the top set-up man for Korea. A skilled passer who can make a play out of nothing, but has a tendency of trying to be to fancy or holds onto the puck too long.
Kim Ki-Sung (37 GP 50 Pts) is a former Asia League MVP and is strong finisher who can be counted on to get things done for Korea.
Cho Min-Ho (45 GP 46 Pts) is also part of the Halla scoring machine. He’s a pass first, shoot second player which can make him a bit predictable. However, he doesn’t waste his chances. 19 of his 109 goals are game winners.
Shin Sang-Hoon (39 GP 45 Pts) is the smallest player on Team Korea, but he doesn’t know that. The third year pro has been given every opportunity to shine and has improved each season. His scoring totals continue to climb, but due to his smaller stature he has difficulty against larger opponents.
Bottom Six + 1
The bottom six can be difficult to select.
Shin Hyung-Yun (39 GP 29 Pts), is the second leading scorer for his club, High1. He’s a dependable bottom six player player, who knows what his job is and does his best to get it done.
Kim Won-Jung (40 GP 29 Pts) is good for his club, but on the international stage his star has faded.In the his last 30 international games he has 0 points and a -15.
Shin Sang-Woo (36 GP 20 Pts) saw his star rise after 5 points in 6 international matches after 1 in his previous 13 to go along with 52 PIM. We’ll have to wait and see which version shows up for the games in Sapporo.
Jeon Jung-Woo (12 GP 10 Pts) is a rookie with the Daemyung Killer Whales. His pro numbers are a bit deceptive due to him playing on the power play with Brett Parnham and Adam Estoclet. On the other hand his international number for 2016 are 5 points in 9 games. So again it’s difficult to say who will play in Sapporo.
Park Woo-Sang, (24 GP 7 Pts). The captain of the team and former dominate player has lost his touch. Sadly injuries over the past two seasons have slowed him down and his timing has been off. He has lost his effectiveness and often looks out of step with the play.
Park Jin-Kyu (10 GP 6 Pts) is a smallish forward that is presently serving on the Sangmu (military team) which plays in the newly formed Korean Ice Hockey League and consists of university and semi-pro teams. Due to the level he’s playing at, Park can’t keep up at the international level. In 9 international contests this season he has 1 assist and is -3.
Lee Chong-Hyun (45 GP 36 Pts) comes from the BCHL. Oddly he has been given first line minutes and first unit power play time when on the national team, and yet he still struggles on the ice. Sorry kid, but it’s not your time.