As the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted, it looks like we’re just days away from an official announcement NHL players will be able to participate in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley has been in talks with the IIHF and had intense meetings late this week. A number of details were released from the meetings, including a couple of major ones:
– There will be a break in the NHL during the Olympics. The last day of games would be February 8 and play would resume two days after the gold medal game.
– There will be roster changes for Sochi. Each team will be allotted two extra players (22 players, 3 goalies), compared to the roster at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (20 players, 3 goalies) .
So, out of curiosity, how would Canada’s forward group look if Hockey Canada only selected the statistically best players from the condensed 2012-13 NHL season?
Chris Kunitz: 52 points (LW) – Steven Stamkos: 57 points (C) – Martin St. Louis: 60 points (RW)
Taylor Hall: 50 points (LW) – Sidney Crosby: 56 points (C) – P.A. Parenteau: 43 points (RW)
Andrew Ladd: 46 points (LW) – Eric Staal: 53 points (C) – Blake Wheeler: 41 points (RW)
Matt Moulson: 44 points (LW) – Ryan Getzlaf: 49 points (C) – Jordan Eberle: 37 points (RW)
Statistically next in line – Jonathan Toews: 48 points (C), Claude Giroux: 48 points (C), John Tavares: 47 points (C), Joe Thornton: 40 points (C), Rick Nash: 42 points (LW), Evander Kane: 33 points (LW), Patrick Marleau: 31 points (LW), Corey Perry: 36 points (RW), Jeff Carter: 33 points (RW), Jordan Eberle: 37 points (RW)
This certainly speaks to the immense depth of the centre position in Canada.
Most of the wingers are able to switch sides in a pinch and most often than not, centres can adjust to playing on the wings to allow the coaching staff a plethora of line combinations.
As the 2014 Olympic Winter Games near (272 days to go), there will be countless potential rosters and line combinations dished out by both the fans and media. Those lists will likely include a number of the players listed above, but those rosters definitely won’t be based solely on stats. Experience, chemistry, coach-ability, and clutch play will all be factors in determining the final roster selected by Hockey Canada. Stats don’t always show the true picture and a number of notable Canadian-born players, like Jason Speeza, struggled with injuries this short regular season.
A camp with potential Olympic players will likely take place late this summer. The 2009 camp, which was in Calgary, happened over a period of four days in August with 46 players hitting the ice.
The final roster will have to be submitted five to six weeks before the start of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.