It is unknown at this point if NHL players will be attending the Olympics this year, but the NHL has agreed to take a break in scheduled play from February 7th until February 22nd which seems to be a good sign. If NHL players get the green light to attend the 2022 Bejing games fans could be in for an exciting Canadian team. Who could the Canadians be sending?
The Canadians are far from short with talent on their front end, or anywhere else for that point. The Foward locks for the Canadians are Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Nathan MacKinnon. Already a great “big three” for Canada, but three stars will not bring home gold.
To play alongside Crosby fans could very well expect Bruin’s stars, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. A Crosby, Bergeron, Marchand line is nothing new to team Canada. Crosby and Bergeron were first paired together way back in 2005 at the World Junior Championship, where they helped Canada Capture Gold. Fast forward to the 2016 World Hockey Championships when Marchand is slotted in next to them and they tally 25 combined points in six games while helping Canada win the tournament.
Slotting McDavid into the top six is a no-brainer, but who would be his linemates? Playing MacKinnon alongside McDavid could help give Canada one of the strongest top sixes Canadian hockey fans have ever seen. Rounding out the top six would be Flordia Panther’s left winger Jonathan Huberdeau. Either first line or second line McDavid, MacKinnon, and Huberdeau have the potential to be the best line in Bejing.
Canada’s third line could also be their shut down line. With the likes of Ryan O’Reilly and Mark Stone Canada would be off to a great start in building a defensive juggernaut. Both O’Reilly and Stone are in Selke talks year in and year out. The question remains who will the third player be. Rounding out Canada’s third line would be Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele.
Team Canada’s fourth line is when the debates start, with lots of viable options Canada will have some tough decisions. Although Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner should not be a hard decision. Marner brings offense and defense to the fourth line. Adding to the fourth line is one of the most underappreciated players in the NHL, a former teammate of Marner in London and Vancouver Canucks Captain Bo Horvat. Horvat may not have the glitz and glam of other players, but he has the ability to play both ends of the ice while driving the play. Rounding out Canada’s forward group is New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal. Barzal brings speed to the fourth line as well as being a strong contributor in the offensive zone.
As for team Canada’s forward spares, Brayden Point would undoubtedly be one as he could slide into any of the four lines and become a difference-maker. While the second will likely be Philidelphia forward Sean Couturier, who could play either left-wing or center while producing on either side.
Canada has loads of defencemen to choose from for Bejing, but unfortunately, there are only eight spots. With some no-brainers like on the front end, the back end also has many debates. Let’s dive into Canada’s potential defensive core.
Canada’s first pairing will undoubtedly be Vegas Golden Knights teammates Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo. Although unusual to see the two paired together in Vegas they are around each other daily during the season, therefore, making their familiarness something Canada just cannot avoid.
As for the second pairing. Colorado’s young budding superstar Cale Makar is a no-brainer. The former Calder Trophy winner and Norris runner-up, is taking the league by storm while only playing 101 regular-season games in just two short seasons. Makar will be a staple on team Canada’s roster for years to come and Bejing 2022 will be the start of big things. His partner starting the tournament should be Arizona Coyotes defenceman Jakob Chychrun. at 23 years old Chychrun started to find his footing these past couple of seasons, playing in 119 games totaling 67 points, 184 blocked shots, and 22:53 average ice time. Chychrun would be a great partner for Makar.
With lots of options left for Canada’s third pairing starting with New Jersey Devil’s defenceman Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton was a staple in Carolina for the past three seasons, now a Devil thing will continue to rise for six-foot-six blueliner. While his defensive partner will be Leafs’ blueliner, Morgan Rielly. Rielly is the defensive anchor of the Leafs, averaging 21:51 minutes of ice time over his first eight NHL seasons.
Team Canada’s defensive spares may be a bit controversial, but the experience will be key. Therefore Canada’s first spare is Los Angeles Kings defenceman and team Canada mainstay Drew Doughty. Canada’s final skater spare will be a 24-year-old stud from the Senators Thomas Chabot.
Canada should have no issue with goaltending. The starting goalie should and likely will be Montreal Canadians netminder Carey Price. The backup and spare goalie are where Canada has a tough decision. Canada could go with Vezina winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, or Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper. They could look in the direction of either Jordan Binnington or Carter Hart. Based on the 2021 season Canada should go with Fleury and Kuemper, both of which are proven veterans that would help Canada’s quest for gold tremendously.
Forward Line One
Forward Line Two
Forward Line Three
Forward Line Four
Brayden Point and Sean Couturier
Defense Pairing One
Shae Theodore-Alex Pietrangelo
Defense Pairing Two
Jakob Chychrun-Cale Makar
Defense Pairing Three
Moragn Rielly-Dougie Hamilton
Drew Doughty and Thomas Chabot
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