Wouldn't that be interesting? If Canada sent their "2nd" team to the Olympics, how would they fare? Could they possibly be just as competitive in the tournament as Canada1? And perhaps the best question, who would be on it?
Well I'm about to tackle that question, and propose the possible lineup for Canada2. To make it interesting, I'll only name players that were NOT at Canada's evaluation camp. So the bubble players and outsiders on that roster wont be featured on this team either. I'll also recap who was on the main evaluation roster as we go. And I'll name enough players to fill the lineup with one or two bubble players, but not as many as the camp, so this will pretty much be the game-day lineup.
So first, we'll start with the goalies.
Corey Crawford (Chicago)
Braden Holtby (Washington)
Roberto Luongo (Vancouver)
Carey Price (Montreal)
Mike Smith (Phoenix)
Martin Brodeur (New Jersey) - This one is probably the most obvious. Despite his age, and downgrading of skill, he has more than earned at least a chance to make the roster.
James Reimer (Toronto) - As I said in my Gold Or Bust post awhile back, I think he would have been a dark horse to make the team, but he deserved at least a chance. Despite being on some poor Maple Leaf teams before last season, and being plagued by injury, he's posted great numbers for Toronto. He also played great at the 2011 World's. I think he could make this team.
Jake Allen (St. Louis) - This is were I'm probably going to lose some people. There are plenty more experienced goalies, and more dependable. Allen probably wont be in the NHL at the start of the season, even though he has so far outplayed Elliot and Halak. But because of his recent international experience and just playing like a skilled vet so far in his NHL career, I think he could be my bubble goalie, much like Holtby for Canada1.
Karl Alzner (Washington)
Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis)
Dan Boyle (San Jose)
Drew Doughty (Los Angeles)
Mike Green (Washington)
Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver)
Travis Hamonic (NY Islanders)
Duncan Keith (Chicago)
Kris Letang (Pittsburgh)
Marc Methot (Ottawa)
Dion Phaneuf (Toronto)
Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis)
Brent Seabrook (Chicago)
Marc Staal (NY Rangers)
P.K. Subban (Montreal)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose)
Shea Weber (Nashville)
Note: I forgot how many D they took to camp. Judging by how thin the defence is getting by the end of this list, this is probably where Canada2 will suffer.
Cody Franson (Toronto) - 3rd in D-men points last season is probably a good place to start for our defencemen roster. Young player with lots of upside.
Francois Beauchemin (Anaheim) - He's been a solid member of Anaheim and Toronto the last few years, and does have some international experience. He has great stats and isn't a defensive liability.
Michael Del Zotto (NY Rangers) - Another young defenceman with lots of upside and international experience. Had a bit of an off-year last season, but is slowly improving his game and being less of a defensive liability.
Sheldon Souray (Anaheim) - What this lineup needs now is a veteran player, and Souray is a perfect fit. He could pair up nicely with Beauchemin. He was one of the best +/- players last season, which shows that he isn't a defensive liability and a strong defenceman for the team. In fact, he was tied for 1st in D-men +/-, tied with none other than Francois Beauchemin.
Dougie Hamilton (Boston) - Last season in his rookie year he played great for the Bruins. Although his defensive game seemed flawed at times, especially during the playoffs, he shows lots of potential for the big club. He was a major piece in Canada's World Junior teams for the last two seasons, so the international game isn't new to him. He brings size and physicality to the defence.
Mark Giordano (Calgary) - To find a good, defensive, physical partner to put alongside Hamilton is tough. Giordano is Calgary's best defenceman, and plays a good physical game. He also has a little bit of international experience. He's not a rookie, so he's a bit more reliable and experienced against the best players than Hamilton, and could help keep him out of trouble defensively.
Jason Garrison (Vancouver) - He isn't a name you'd probably think of to put in this spot, but he is a good fit. He's a vet, even though he doesn't have tons of NHL experience outside the last few years. Last season in Vancouver he put up very respectable numbers, including one of the best +/- stats for defencemen. He plays a strong defensive game, and makes up for some of the holes created by defensive liabilities of the other defenders.
Canada1 Left Wing
Taylor Hall (Edmonton)
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh)
Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg)
Milan Lucic (Boston)
Brad Marchand (Boston)
Rick Nash (NY Rangers)
James Neal (Pittsburgh)
Patrick Sharp (Chicago)
Note: In reality, most of these guys wont make the team anyway, as they'll be replaced by centremen.
Canada2 Left Wing
Evander Kane (Winnipeg) - Although he isn't always dependable, and is still improving, he has potential to be one of the biggest offensive threats on this team. He has a ton of international experience to help his case too.
Mason Raymond (Toronto) - Maybe this is a surprise pick for some, but his speed will be a huge asset on an international ice surface. He's a hard grinding guy who will give much needed character and grit to this team. He also has some World Jrs. experience.
Dany Heatley (Minnesota) - He's fallen off the radar hard from his glory days, but he has a very impressive international resume, and is still one of the most skilled shooters in the game.
Ray Whitney (Dallas) - Why not? He's 41, but the last two seasons he's gotten almost a point per game, in Dallas and Phoenix, so with not much help. He has lots of World Championship experience, and could provide a good veteran presence to a primarily young team.
Canada1 Right Wing
Jeff Carter (Los Angeles)(C/RW)
Jordan Eberle (Edmonton)(RW)
Claude Giroux (Philadelphia)(RW)
Corey Perry (Anaheim)(RW)
Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay)(RW)
Canada2 Right Wing
Jerome Iginla (Boston) - This is where I'll cheat a little bit. Even though he wasn't named to the evaluation camp, I named him on my Olympic team in my Gold Or Bust post. Since he's not on the main roster, I'll steal him away for mine, and he'd probably be captain too. Line him up with some skilled playmakers, and you'll have an endless supply of pucks in the net. He's also a great leader with plenty of international experience.
PA Parenteau (Colorado) - Although he's only had 3 years as a full-time NHLer, he's spent lots of time in the AHL, and is anything but a rookie. Once he cracked the NHL full time, he's put up some very impressive numbers for the Islanders and Avalanche. He's had to work hard to find his place in the NHL, and I'm sure he'd be one of Canada's hardest workers on the team. Oh, and he was 3rd in Canadian RW points last season, ahead of Eberle and Perry, just throwing that out there.
Shane Doan (Phoenix) - Like Iginla (and maybe even more-so), he is a great leader with lots of international experience. He's not as prolific of a scorer as he used to, but he can still be a great asset to this team.
Brendan Gallagher (Montreal) - Unlike the other RW's here, he's young. Last season he had a great rookie season with Montreal. He does have some international junior experience, and he has a high talent level.
Patrice Bergeron (Boston) (C)
Logan Couture (San Jose)(C)
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)(C)
Matt Duchene (Colorado)(C)
Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim)(C)
Mike Richards (Los Angeles)(C)
Eric Staal (Carolina)(C)
Jordan Staal (Carolina)(C)
Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay)(C)
John Tavares (NY Islanders)(C)
Joe Thornton (San Jose)(C)
Jonathan Toews (Chicago)(C)
Note: Are there any left? Theres enough centermen here for 3 teams! This will be difficult.
Nazem Kadri (Toronto) - So like Don Cherry, I might have a bit of a bias towards him. I love how hard he plays, and he could really be a benefit to this team. He has tons of skill, World Jr. experience, and could play a few different rolls for this team.
Jamie Benn (Dallas) - A young vet in Dallas, he has plenty of upside and experience. He could be one of Canada's most dependable scorers.
Sam Gagner (Edmonton) - With lots of international experience even for a younger player, he has lots of things needed to be an important player on this team. He isn't always consistent, but has flares of greatness when he's on his game.
Mike Cammalleri (Calgary) - A very speedy player, with lots of experience. Sometimes a bit of a defensive liability, but could give Canada some grit and extra options in the offensive zone.
Canada2 Projected Line-up
Whitney - Benn - Iginla
Kane - Cammalleri - Doan
Raymond - Kadri - Gallagher
Heatley - Gagner - Parenteau
Beauchemin - Souray
Franson - Del Zotto
Hamilton - Giordano
So what do you think of Canada2? Would they be competitive? I think they would have troubles on defence, but offensively they would have a shot to compete against the faster, more skilled teams.
Alright, so it has to be done. Later in the week, look for this post to come back, and I'll document what happens when these two teams go against each other, via NHL14.
And if you have any line-up changes you'd like to make before I do the simulation, leave me a comment and I'll work it in.
Once again, thanks for reading.