Who should make Canada’s Olympic team?

Tuesday, Hockey Canada officials will unveil the 25-man roster for the Sochi Olympics: 14 forwards, 8 defencemen, and 3 goalies. I’d say there are about 21 forwards and 12 defencemen with a reasonable shot at making the team, and probably 5-8 goalies. If I were in charge, here’s who I’d take, in approximate order:

  • Forwards: Crosby, Stamkos, Toews, Getzlaf, Perry, Tavares, Bergeron, Duchene, Thornton, Marleau, St. Louis, Giroux, Sharp, Couture (stats for these 14 forwards)
  • Defencemen: Doughty, Keith, Pietrangelo, Subban, Weber, Vlasic, Hamhuis, Bouwmeester (stats for these 8 defencemen)
  • Goalies: Luongo, Price, Bernier

This is a roster of the best players available, in my opinion, not so much an “NHL roster” as it leaves off the likes of Kris Draper and Rob Zamuner. I paid some, but not much, attention to forwards’ positions, figuring elite players can slide over from centre to wing if needed. I also didn’t try to consider who’s better suited to Olympic ice. Defencemen are roughly split between left and right.

Notable “snubs” from my list — if you can call them that, because when you have a talent pool as deep as Canada’s, great players are necessarily left off — include Staal, Nash, Benn, and Seabrook.

All the guys on my roster are positive possession players except Stamkos and St. Louis, who more than compensate with their production. 7 of the 8 defencemen and 5 forwards play a lot of shorthanded time, meaning Canada should be OK on the PK. Everyone except Vlasic plays on the power play often. If you like at forwards in terms of even strength points per 60, there are three names that stick out at the bottom: Bergeron, Giroux, and Couture. I think Giroux and Couture, along with Sharp and St. Louis, would rotate through forwards spots 11-14. Bergeron is the team’s best possession forward even with the toughest zone starts and I’d be comfortable putting him out there against anybody.

6 thoughts on “Who should make Canada’s Olympic team?

  1. Thankfully no Kunitz, agree with this roster. Young yet has experience in Olympics and international play,

  2. My team was remarkably similar – I had Benn/Seabrook over St Louis/Hamhuis – but the other 23 players were exact. There’s a good mix of R/L shots [Tavares – Crosby – Stamkos first line, for instance, would be a fantastic L/L/R line with two lesser FO guys moving to strong-side wings]. On the D, Weber is an RH shot who is comfy playing LD. I had him with Subban, while Keith/Doughty and Vlasic/Pietrangelo as the next pair, and Bouwmeester/Seabrook as the “extra” pair. And if the team is hung up on a “checking” line, then Couture/Marleau – Toews – Bergeron pretty much fills that while still ensuring that there is elite offensive skill represented.

    I just hope Hockey Canada sees things on the same wavelength…

      1. What principle did you use to rank the draft order? I notice you picked Doughty first among defensemen, but he doesn’t seem to be first in any categories on your statistical comparison chart.

        1. The gap between Doughty and Keith is pretty small. Though keep in mind the charts directly linked are only for this season – I looked at previous seasons’ stats as well.

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