Hockey Canada announced the group that will lead them to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Team Canada is full of former NHL players.
Analyzing Team Canada’s Men’s Hockey Team
25 @HC_Men on the roster. 36 million on the team. 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 11, 2018
Up front, every player named to the team has at least 20 NHL contests under their belt, led by Chris Kelly who has 833 NHL games (only player on the team with a Stanley Cup). In total, the team has 4,844 regular season NHL games played to go along with 882 goals and 1,208 assists. Derek Roy leads both of those categories with 189 goals and 335 assists over his 738 game NHL career. Nine of the 14 forwards have over 100 NHL games as well.
Roy will likely carry most of the offence for this team. Still, there are a few others who can provide their own scoring punch.
Four players, including Roy, have 100 or more goals in the NHL. Rene Bourque (163), Chris Kelly (123), and Mason Raymond (115), have all had experience tickling the twine. Even Wojtek Wolski has 99 career NHL markers in over 400 games.
Outside the NHL, the team features Linden Vey who is third in the KHL in scoring (as of roster announcement) with 52 points in 49 games this season with Barys Astana. They feature five others who are in the top 51 in scoring (Wolski, Gilbert Brule, Eric O’Dell, Quinton Howden, Brandon Kozun).
This team isn’t small either, nine of the 14 forwards on the roster are listed at six feet or taller. Wojtek Wolski is the biggest on the team at 6’3″ and 220lbs.
Willie Desjardins has a solid group of forwards to work with and it will be interesting to see who will be lined up with who.
The blue line for Team Canada looks a bit less exciting with only one of the players having more than 100 NHL games. Cody Goloubef leads the group with 129 NHL games. Four players have less than 10 games under their belt. Chris Lee and Mat Robinson have no NHL experience. However, Lee did have his “coming out party” at the most recent World Championships where he played seven games and tallied two assists to help Team Canada to a silver medal.
The defence core is on the older side as all the blueliners older than 27 at the time of their first game in South Korea (Stefan Elliott turns 27 on January 30th), with the oldest player being Chris Lee who is 37.
Don’t expect anything spectacular out of this defence core. Expect this group to be able to be a stay at home group for the most part. The defence will allow the forwards get the puck and score.
Between the pipes, three goalies were named to the roster, all of whom have 50 or more games played in the NHL. Combined, the trio has a 90-127-29 record in 277 NHL games.
Ben Scrivens is the most experienced of the three when it comes to the NHL. Between Toronto, Los Angeles, Edmonton, and Montreal, he posted a 47-64-17 record in 144 games. He had seven career shutouts and had a .905 save percentage to go along with 2.92 goals against average. This season with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL, Scrivens has a 19-11-2 record with four shutouts and 2.29 goals against average with a .917 save percentage. He can move well and has shown flashes of very good play at the NHL level. He seems to be the front-runner to start for Team Canada.
Justin Peters is the oldest of the three and has the second most NHL experience. In 83 NHL games, the 31-year-old posted a 25-38-9 record. He had three shutouts, 3.08 goals against average, and a .901 save percentage. Peters is currently playing for Kolner Haie in the DEL. He has an 11-11-0 record, 2.00 goals against average, and a .890 save percentage to go along with one shutout. Peters is a former AHL All-Star and is a very competent netminder. It seems to be Peter’s job to lose when it comes to the backup spot.
Lastly, Kevin Poulin finds his way onto the roster with 50 games of NHL experience. The 27-year-old spent his NHL career with the New York Islanders. He posted an 18-25-3 record with a .899 save percentage and 3.07 goals against average. The Montreal native is currently spending time between the pipes in the EBEL with Medvescak Zagreb. He has a 9-9-2 record, with 2.86 goals against average, and a .918 save percentage.
Poulin was part of the Spengler Cup-winning team this year. While Poulin’s numbers look good this year, the league is not up to par with leagues like the DEL or KHL. Poulin will likely find himself in the press box as the third goalie but is a decent insurance policy for Team Canada.
This group of goalies likely won’t steal Canada a game in the tournament, but they likely won’t need to. Scrivens, Peters, and Poulin just need to make sure they don’t lose Canada any games.
Team Canada Looks Strong
This team that will dawn the maple leaf next month certainly does not look like something to write home about. Still, a great deal of these players are some of the best in their respective league and they’re going to be up against a lot of the same guys in the tournament. The forwards should be able to fill the net in this tournament. The defence and goaltending will keep the opposition scoring down as well.
This is a very experienced team. These guys know how to win, with eight players selected that were on the Canadian Spengler Cup-winning team this year. Canada should compete for the gold. They open their tournament on February 15th against Switzerland.