Who is in, out for Team Canada Hockey?

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Team Canada Hockey

Team USA has been in the headlines after their roster announcement following the Winter Classic. Team Canada will dominate those same headlines January 7. Hockey Canada is rich with talent that could easily field two teams.

The roster listed below will be broken down into three categories: Goaltenders, Defensemen, and Forwards. Team Canada will take more centers than any other forward position because of their amazing depth. Their natural position will be in parentheses.

There is no right way to predict or project this roster, so take it as another educated guess that goes along with the countless others.

Goaltenders

Locks: Roberto Luongo (Van), Carey Price (Mon)

Bubble: Jonathan Bernier (Tor), Corey Crawford (Chi), Braden Holtby (Was), James Reimer (Tor), Josh Harding (Min), Mike Smith (Pho)

 

It looks as if Team Canada hockey could take any combination of the above to tend the pipes, but outside of Luongo and Price, it’s a crapshoot. The third goalie on the roster will more than likely play as much as you or I, so any debate is moot. The only real discussion is if a younger netminder should be in Sochi to get a feel for a potential run in 2018.

That being said, Josh Harding should be on the team, as he has illustrated why throughout this season.

 

Defensemen

Locks: Duncan Keith (Chi), Alex Pietrangelo (Stl), Drew Doughty (LA), Shea Weber (Nsh)

Bubble: P.K. Subban (Mtl), Brent Seabrook (Chi), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (SJ), Jay Bouwmeester (Stl), Dan Boyle (SJ), Kris Letang (Pit), Mark Giordano (Cgy), Dion Phaneuf (Tor)

 

The only reason Subban is on the bubble is the same reason Bobby Ryan didn’t make Team USA: Dumb management. Team Canada brass question if Subban can contribute on an Olympic stage. The reigning Norris Trophy winner is the best blueliner in the game today.

Bouwmeester and Seabrook stand a good chance of wearing the red maple leaf because of their pairing with Pietrangelo and Keith, respectively. Vlasic is the best two-way defender not locked into a roster spot, and Boyle, Letang, and Giordano are basically the same offensively-gifted D-men. Letang has been abysmal since returning from injury, but his offensive game is elite for his position. Phaneuf has all but played his way out of a roster spot.

Seabrook and Bouwmeester should make Team Canada, as well as Vlasic and Subban.

 

Forwards

Locks: Jonathan Toews (Center, Chi), Steven Stamkos (Center, TB), Ryan Getzlaf (Center, Ana), Corey Perry (Right Wing, Ana), Sidney Crosby (Center, Pit), John Tavares (Center, NYI), Patrice Bergeron (Center, Bos)

Bubble: Patrick Sharp, (Left Wing, Chi), Taylor Hall (Left Wing, Edm), Chris Kunitz (Left Wing, Pit), Patrick Marleau (Left Wing, SJ), Joe Thornton (Center, SJ), Claude Giroux (Center, Phi), Rick Nash (Left Wing, NYR), Eric Staal (Center, Car), Jamie Benn (Left Wing, Dal), Matt Duchene (Center, Col), Martin St. Louis (Right Wing, TB), Logan Couture (Center, SJ), Mike Richards (Center, LA), Jeff Carter (Center, LA), James Neal (Left Wing, Pit)

 

The above names above are why Team Canada can field two competitive teams. Debating who should be in/out could take another 1,000 words, but I will save time by saying the names listed below are the best players right now.

Sharp is in because he is playing like a man possessed. He has also been snubbed numerous times from Olympic play and invites to camps. Taylor Hall is the best talent under 25 in the NHL, but you’d never know that since he plays for the laughingstock Edmonton Oilers. Patrick Marleau and Jamie Benn fill out the left side for the Canadians. Marleau is a power play and penalty kill staple for the Sharks and is a great asset because of it. Jamie Benn is breaking out in a big way this season.

Claude Giroux and Eric Staal were terrible to begin the 2013-14 season, but have been key cogs to their teams’ better play as of late. Both have international experience for Hockey Canada and will fit in well.

The final player Team Canada should (better) take is Martin St. Louis. The 38-year old is one of the main reasons Tampa has survived without Stamkos after he broke his leg November 11. Despite his diminutive stature, St. Louis plays like a fullback with skates. His skills have yet to diminish in a way that would scare Canadian management from including him in Sochi.

 

The Breakdown

 Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Josh Harding

Defensemen: Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, P.K. Subban, Brent Seabrook, Jay Bouwmeester, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Forwards: Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, Patrice Bergeron, Patrick Sharp, Taylor Hall, Patrick Marleau, Jamie Benn, Claude Giroux, Eric Staal, Martin St. Louis

Follow Jeff on Twitter @skcih_ffej for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where Jeff covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season, and does weekly podcasts, as well.

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