Team Canada 2014: July Edition

Yesterday, Team Canada announced the 47 players invited to attend their orientation camp in August, here is Calgary. With the announcement, the debate on who will represent Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics has begun across the country. Team Canada will look to defend their 2010 Gold medal on a different stage, playing on the bigger ice surface in Sochi. Here is my July edition of Team Canada.

I elected to select 25 skaters; 14 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 3 goalies. With the Olympic games being so far over seas, every team will have to have insurance in the case of injuries.

FORWARDS(14):

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins, C

Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks, C/LW

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, C

Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers, RW

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers, C

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, LW

Rick Nash, New York Rangers, RW

Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks, RW

Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks, RW

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes, C

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, C

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay, RW

John Tavares, New York Islanders, C

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks, C

To me, the locks up front are Crosby, Toews, Tavares, Stamkos, Grioux, Staal, Bergeron, Nash, Perry and St. Louis. That is ten of the fourteen spots available. That leaves Eberle, Couture, Sharp and Marchand as my choices for the final four spots.

Yesterday I tweeted my picks and had Ryan Getzlaf on the team instead of Sharp. Nothing against Getzlaf, but I feel Sharp has more versatility, is a better skater and with so many centre's already on the roster, it is tough to find a spot for Getzlaf down the middle.

Marchand cracks my sqaud to give the team a player with the ability to get under the opponents skin. Marchand is also more than capable of filling in on one of the top four lines and has proven to be a big game player.

Eberle gets the nod over his teammate Taylor Hall, strictly on the basis of his ability to score clutch goals.

Couture gets a spot because I feel he made huge strides this past season, especially in the playoffs. He also has the ability to play LW and C.

Finally, my second biggest surprise (biggest one invloves a goalie) to not get an invite to camp was Jamie Benn. Benn is another versatile player, who like Couture can play either LW or C, and could very well play his way into the mix despite not getting an invite to Team Canada's initial camp.

Defense(8):

Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks

Marc Staal, New York Rangers

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Once again, I do not think there will be a ton of open spots on the back end. Weber, Doughty, Keith, and Seabrook all return from the 2010 Gold medal team and it will take something drastic to knock any of them off the 2014 squad. I also have a tough time not seeing Letang and Pietrangelo on Team Canada is Sochi, so that really only leaves two open spots.

This is where things could get interesting. One problem that GM Steve Yzerman and the Hockey Canada brass will face on the back end is the ample of right handed shots. Of those top six I mentioned, five of them shoot right, with the only leftie being Keith.

Yzerman has already stressed the need for good skaters with the bigger ice surface and with the lack of left shooting defensemen, Team Canada will have some tough decisions to make.

Staal and Bouwmeester get the nod for me, both being left handed shots and being strong skaters. There is some concern with Staal's eye injury, but things must be moving in a positive direction for Staal with the invitation to August's orientation camp.

Bouwmeester is the biggest question mark of the group with his lack of being a big game player. Other than being a left handed, smooth skating defensemen, Bouwmeester will also have Ken Hitchcock on his side, and should be able to build some good chemistry with Pietrangelo in the first half of the season.

Goalies(3):

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

This will be the position with the biggest question marks for Team Canada.

Personally, I have every bit of confidence in Price. He is my starter if Team Canada played tonight.

Luongo has been unbelieveably professional with everything that has gone on in this past year with the Vancouver Canucks, and I think that will continue with him once again being the undisputed starter. Luongo is a lock as one of the goalies behind Price.

The biggest surprise, non-invite for me was Cam Ward. Coming off a injury plagued season, Ward should be in Calgary in August. There was only one player named to the 2010 team who was not invited to Team Canada's summer camp (Patrice Bergeron), and I think Ward will be that player on the 2014 team.

Lines:

1- STAMKOS-CROSBY-ST. LOUIS
2- STAAL-TOEWS-GIROUX
3- COUTURE-TAVARES-NASH
4- SHARP-BERGERON-PERRY
E- MARCHAND-EBERLE

1- DOUGHTY-WEBER
2- KEITH-SEABROOK
3- STAAL-LETANG
E- BOUWMEESTER-PIETRANGELO

1- PRICE
2- LUONGO
3- WARD

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon