Last June I wrote this piece on my ideas for the Canadian Olympic roster for the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Yesterday's debut of Pierre McGuire's roster picks inspired me to update my selections. Over the past nine months quite a bit has changed, and my updated roster will reflect that.
Just for comparisons' sake, here is the roster McGuire selected on TSN:
Heatley – Getzlaf - Nash
Carter – Thornton - Gagne
Morrow – M. Richards - Doan
Phaneuf - Weber
Burns - Green
The most notable omission from Pierre's team is Chris Pronger, who is arguably the best (and unarguably the dirtiest) defenseman from Canada. Pierre also left off Joe Sakic, who will be in tough to make the team with so much young talent emerging up front for Canada.
Here is the roster I had put together last June:
Lecavalier – Crosby – St. Louis
Sakic – Staal – Iginla
Morrow – Richards – Doan
Weber – Phaneuf
Regehr – Burns
My original team had nine of the same forwards as Pierre's, four of the same defensemen, and the same goaltending trio. There are several notable omissions from my original team that either slipped my mind at the time (Simon Gagne), or have played their way on to my new and improved roster (Jeff Carter). I have added players and also tinkered with line combinations a bit (besides the extremely exciting potential checking line of Mike Richards centering Morrow and Doan).
Without further ado I present my revised selections for Team Canada's 2010 Olympic roster:
Crosby – Lecavalier – Iginla
Gagne – Thornton – Carter
Morrow – M. Richards – Doan
Phaneuf – Weber
Niedermayer – Green
First off, the Heatley/Getzlaf/Nash trio must be kept together. They have been nothing short of brilliant at various international tournaments and are close to impossible to stop down low. For whatever reason I had Getzlaf as an extra on my previous roster; Pierre wisely put this trio together. I also like what Pierre did in shifting Crosby to LW, a position he has previously played at the WJC (on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Corey Perry). Crosby is such a cerebral player and such a strong play maker that he will fit in wherever he is placed in this lineup. Lecavalier and Iginla are both obviously locks and this line will essentially be the 1B to Getzlaf's 1A line. Simon Gagne has bounced back from his concussion in a big way, and has the international pedigree and the versatility to fit in on any line. Jeff Carter has played his way on to the team with a huge performance in 2008-2009. He has one of the best shots in the league and could potentially form a dominant duo with Joe Thornton. While this trio is third on the depth chart, they certainly possess the potential to be Canada's best. There isn't much else to say about the fourth line: three heart-and-soul captains who can hit and fight just as well as they can score.
On defense, Pronger and Niedermayer are locks, assuming they are still playing. There is talk of Niedermayer retiring but it would be safe to assume the allure of playing the Olympics in his home province would entice him back for one more season. The pairing of Phaneuf and Weber is extremely exciting to consider, as they previously have dominated internationally at the 2005 World Junior Championships. Mike Green is the best offensive blue liner on the planet and will add a ton to Canada's offensive attack and power play. Jay Bouwmeester is also a lock, and may very well be Canada's best defenseman by the time the 2010 tournament begins. Brent Burns hasn't played himself off the team, it is more a case of other players rising above him. He certainly has the potential to be one of the top six for 2010, but he needs to get back to his dominant two-way hockey for Minnestoa. If Niedermayer does retire, the smooth-skating Duncan Keith is a logical choice as a replacement.
In goal there isn't much to add. Brodeur and Luongo are locks. Good thing the Olympics did not take place in 2009, as both players have battled serious injuries this season. The third goalie will probably be Price, as Canada will want to give him some prime time international experience, but it could just as easily be a veteran like Marty Turco or a Canada veteran like Cam Ward.