Ten days until Team Canada announces their Olympic Roster, I think it is too soon, as the Olympics aren't for a while and I would like to see if anyone else gets hot, or how does Ryan Smyth come back from his injury, but with that, this is my Olympic Roster. One last thing, before I get to my roster, for those who don't know, each Olympic Team dresses for every game 7 defeseman, and 13 forwards, they also get to dress 2 goalies, but they can rotate 3 goalies in for the tournament. If a player gets injured, you can bring in one player from your 3-man taxi squad, but you can only bring in a player from that taxi-squad if someone gets injured.
LW - C - RW
Rick Nash - Sidney Crosby - Jarome Iginla
Brad Richards - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Danny Heatley - Joe Thornton - Martin St. Louis
Brenden Morrow - Mike Richards - Shane Doan
There is a few players that I am sure not everyone will agree on, so I'll start by discussing those.
Maybe the biggest question up front is, who should be on the fourth line right-wing? I really think that Team Canada should go with a checker, to shut down the other teams best players. For this position, I had many players that I thought of, including Ryan Smyth, Patrick Sharp, Patrice Bergeron, and Mike Fisher. But I went with Shane Doan for his leadership and physical play. But, with that said, Ryan Smyth comes back December 26th, and if he can show that he wasn't affected by his injury early, he can make Team Canada in that spot. Don't forget, Ryan Smyth is known as Captain Canada. As for fourth line centre, everyone though that Mike Richards would be a lock, but he has almost played himself off Team Canada, with some really poor play as of late. But Mike Richards can still get in our face, and be a great checker. After the orientation camp, coach Mike Babcock said he was most impressed with Mike Richards. For Brenden Morrow, he has come back in a big way this season after being injured for a lot of last season, and he is back playing physical. A line of Richards, Morrow, and Doan should give other teams nightmares.
Joe Thornton was a question mark for most people heading into this season, but he leads the NHL in points, and is on a tear. Thornton also has had some success in international events for Team Canada before, and the team wont relay on him too much with Getzlaf and Crosby hopefully providing a lot of offense too. Danny Heatley is a no brainer, probably Canada's best scorer, Danny Heatley can put them up with the best of them. The real question here is should Team Canada bring the third memeber of the San Jose Sharks (former) big line, Patrick Marleau. I don't think Marleau makes the team, as he is a really good player, but if he wasn't on that line, he wouldn't even been considered. Martin St. Louis is playing great, and he makes players around him great, look what he has done with Stamkos, and Lecavalier before that. St. Louis is one of the best players in the NHL, and I can't think of many players that make the players around him so much better as St. Louis does. St. Louis also has a ton of international experience, and most recently he had great success in the World Championships.
Ryan Getzlaf started really slow this season, as he was coming off back surgery and didn't have any off season workouts, nor did he have much of a preseason. But since his slow start, he is back to his old form, he is tied for third in the NHL in points, and is one of the best playmakers in hockey. Also, in the big games Getzlaf steps-up, he has a 1.13 points per playoff game in his career. Corey Perry was a bubble player heading into this season, and most thought that if he would make the team he would be on the fourth line, but he is fifth among Canadians in points (tied with St. Louis) and is ninth in goals among Canadians. He is one of the best net presences in the NHL, and a great powerforward, not to mention his great chemistry with Getzlaf. As for Brad Richards, he has re-established himself as a great player. Richards is tied for third among Canadains in points, even though he has missed two games. Richards can also play the wing, which makes him an asset. Many people think that Eric Staal should play here, but he has really struggled with only 6 goals, and 19 points in 25 games.
This top line is a no brainer. The one difference I might have here is by switching the lines that Iginla and St. Louis are on, because in the orientation camp, Iginla didn't click with Nash and Crosby, but St. Louis clicked.
I like Toews in this spots, because he can play any where. Toews can fill in on the fourth line as a checker, on the top line as a scorer, he can play both special teams, and he is great at faceoffs, he is 60.5% at faceoffs!!! Toews can play both the wing, and centre. He is the perfect player for a 13th forward, because he can do what ever you want.
Scott Niedermayer - Shea Weber
Chris Pronger - Dan Boyle
Duncan Keith - Drew Doughty
This is tough, Canada is so deep on defense, but I think this is what Team Canada shoud have. Yes, there is no Jay Bouwmeester or Brent Seabrook, but I think this is Canada's best group they can field. Scott Niedermayer will be the captain of Team Canada, and he hasn't played his best hockey this season but if you say him play in the playoffs last season, you know he still has it. Weber is one of the best, and most underrated defenseman in hockey, he is both physical and a great puck mover, with a bomb from the point. Pronger is Canada's big shutdown defenseman, and with the Olympics on the smaller ice surface this time around, Pronger shouldn't feel so out of place, like he did last Olympics. Boyle is having a great season, and has the expierence of winning a cup before. Keith is playing great in Chicago, and just goes along doing his job. Doughty is a young Niedermayer. Doughty is great at both ends of the ice, and when you watch the Kings, you notice Doughty. Doughty has also dominated on the international stage, whether him winning top defenseman in the World Juniors, or him taking over the job as the number one defenseman in the World Championships at the age of 19. Now, Doughty is 20 and could win a Norris this season. Mike Green is a pick most people wont agree with, as most people believe there is only room for one of Green or Boyle, but Green makes great first passes, and is a great player to put on the ice if you are down a goal, and he will anchor the powerplay.
Brodeur has been Canada's best goalie this season, and has great Olympic expierence. Brodeur won a gold in 2002, and in 2006 Martin Broduer was Team Canada's lone bright spot. Brodeur leads all Canadian goalies with a .918 SV%. Roberto Luongo is second in SV%, and is the easy pick for the backup. Fleury showed what he was made of last Cup Finals, and in his last 12 starts he is 10-1-1 with a .925 SV%, with Mason struggling, and Ward playing bad off and coming off an injury, the only competition for Fleury is Turco, and he is slowing down.
Eric Staal - Steven Stamkos - Jay Bouwmeester
Team Canada likes to go with young players on the taxi-squad, and both Staal and Bouwmeester were on the squad last time around. Staal can play both the wing and centre if someone goes down. I have Stamkos as he is having a great season this year. I thought of having Fisher, Bergeron, Smyth, or Jordan Staal over Stamkos in case someone goes down from that fourth line, but Toews should be able to fill those shoes. Also, Stamkos gets some expierence of seeing the Olympics first hand (even though Taxi-Squad players can't pratice with the team, nor stay in the Olympic Village), as he is a big part of the future for Canada. Bouwmeester can also play any role on defense, making him the perfect player for the taxi-squad. I thought of Tyler Myers because he is playing so good, and like Stamkos the future, but Bouwmeester will be the better player if someone goes down.
That is my Olympic roster for Team Canada, and this roster should be the front runners for the Gold. Please comment, and leave your rosters.