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My 2016 Team Canada

With less than  one year until puck drop for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, I have decided to play every Canadian hockey fans favorite game: Creating Team Canada.

As per usual, the insane amount of depth in the Canadian system could assemble a “B” team that would contend for gold.
Therefore, I stuck to a formula:  Like handed defenceman, Like handed wingers when possible, and a solid mix of offense, speed, special teams and grit.On the backend, I prefer good puck moving d-men that can also hold down the fort.

Ideally, I would have kept wingers on the wing and centers at center, but let’s face it; Canada’s depth at center make that impossible.

So here you have it, Canada’s 2016 World Cup of Hockey Squad:

Coaching Staff:

Head Coach:
Mike Babcock:
If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The coach of the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Canadian men's team has twice had the ability to sell his star studded rosters his system, and twice he has brought home gold.

Assistants:

Joel Quenneville:
It’s getting harder and harder to justify snubbing the winner of 3 Stanley cups in the post- salary cap era.

Claude Jullien:
Past international success and chemistry with Babcock should buy him a spot on this squad.

Ken Hitchcock:
Copy and paste line above about Jullien. They’ve all worked together in the past, and they’ve all won in the past.

Line 1:

Hall-Crosby”C”-Stamkos

I am not sure you can designate any line on this team a scoring line given the fact that all four lines are loaded with offensive firepower. However, The top line faces the top opposition, and these three are no strangers to that task:

Sidney Crosby
Even though Sid didn’t win the scoring title last year, he is still the undisputed number 1 for pivot for Canada and the best player in the world. It’s more likely that some kid named Connor take this crown in than anyone else.

Taylor Hall
Hall showed in the 2015 World Championship of Hockey that given an elite distributor like Crosby, he is an elite Winger. Since Crosby is more of a North-south center that likes to lead the rush, having a winger that’s as fast or faster than him is a great fit.

Steven Stamkos
It’s hard to believe that this will be Stamkos’ debut for a best on best tournament given his 50 and 60 goal seasons (Although a broken leg in 2014 is to blame).Stamkos will be counted on to be the trigger guy, and his 0 .56 career goals per game validate that request.

Line 2:

Benn-Getzlaf-Perry

Possibly Canada's best line during the Sochi 2014 Olympics. This line will be counted on to dominate the perimeter and physically run down the opposition:

Jamie Benn
Although I am tempted to start Benn with Seguin, his connection with Getzlaf-Perry in Sochi was too brilliant to overlook. After winning the scoring title in 2014-15, Benn's roster spot won’t be as much of a shocker to Canadian fans this time around. He may be the game’s best power forward.

Ryan Getzlaf
Can anyone possess the puck like Getzlaf? One of the game’s best puck movers, him and Perry have incredible chemistry that won't likely be broken up.  Don’t let his hairline fool you; he has yet to lose a step.

Corey Perry
Former hart trophy winner, natural goal scorer, and the ying to Getzlaf's yang. Expect him to go into net crashing mode as he has in his last 2 Olympics.
Getzlaf and Perry's elite playing days are numbered at 31 years a piece, but they still rank as one of the most dangerous 1-2 punches in the game.

Duchesne-Toews”A”-Seguin

An all-star first line on any team, let alone third line. This is a speedy line that can play the 200 foot game that Babcock loves so much:

Jonathan Toews
If there is any center that can be tasked with a more of a shutdown role, it’s captain serious.

Toews is the game’s best leader, best winner and most complete player.

Tyler Seguin
After two consecutive point per game seasons, Seguin has proven that he is elite and ready to perform on the best on best international stage.

Matt Duchesne
Yes, he dropped to 55 points last near after scoring a point game the prior two years. Don't worry, he will bounce back and provide Canada with lightning speed down the left side.        

Nash-Tavares-Bergeron

Rick Nash
A 3- time 40 goal scorer in his own right, Nash has earned his stripes at the international level. Succeeding in every possible role, he can score, shut down offence and kill penalties.

Expect to jump to the top line if a big body is needed.

Patrice Bergeron
The game’s best 2 way player and one of the most adaptable. He will be tasked with defensive duties, penalty killing and big faceoffs as per usual.

John Tavares
Putting John Tavares on a fourth line doesn’t feel right, but expect him to start here. One of the game’s best offensive players, JT will see power play time and potentially top line left wing minutes if lines get juggled.

Extra forward: Claude Giroux

Many people would disagree with me on this decision, but on a team this deep, the 13th forward can move to first line winger in a flash. 376 points in his last 5 years prove that he belongs anywhere on this depth chart.

Most Noteworthy Snubs

Ryan Johanson
In his last 2 seasons, he had 63 points and 71 points. It’s likely this is the season he hits 80 and joins the leagues heavy weights for the scoring race.  I have a feeling that I won’t agree with my own prediction on this one come next September.

Jeff Carter
Carter lit the lamp at the 2014 Olympics after Yzerman was scrutinized for choosing him. Unfortunately, this time around there just isn’t enough room.

Defence:

Keith”A”-Doughty

Duncan Keith
His Conn Smythe performance last year was probably of the most dominant display by a D-man in the last 20 years. He will be 32, but he hasn’t lost his place on the top line.

Drew Doughty
Doesn’t he remind you of Ray Bourque? His inability to be phased by pressure bring him to another level in big game situations. His 0.51 career points per game don’t give a fair indication of how effective this guy really is.

Giardono- Weber”A”-

Mark Giordono
Undrafted and a very late bloomer, Giordono may have won the Norris trophy last year had he not torn his bicep. Canada has a history of selecting like handed defense. Therefore, Giordono beats Letang by virtue of being a left handed shot.

Shea Weber
Will he ever get his much deserved Norris trophy? Or has he been victimized for playing in a great era of defencemen?

Either way, Weber is a staple for team Canada and his shot is downright scary.

Vlasic- Subban

Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Vlasics defensive responsibility allows Subban to cheat and join the rush. He’s no Paul Coffey, but he does all the right things in his own zone.

P.K Subban
Yes, Subban can be a liability at times, but his offensive prowess and swagger make it impossible to deny him a regular roster spot again.

Extra:
Alex Pietriangelo
Unfortunately for Pietrangelo, Canada has more depth on the right side than left. He can easily move into a top 4 role if lines need to be adjusted.

Most Noteworthy Snubs:

Kris Letang
If he was left handed, he may be here. Unfortunately for him, Canada’s offensive fire power is strong enough to leave out the one of the best offensive d-men in the league.

Jake Muzzin
If you’re an advanced stats geek, he’s front and center on your squad. Probably the leagues most underrated, overshadowed defenceman. That being said, this all-star squad lacks vacancy.

Goalie’s

Carey Price
It’s hard to believe that going into Sochi, Canada lacked a “number 1” goaltender. A ridiculous performance in Sochi, followed by a dominant M.V.P season in 2014-15 prove that he’s not only the best Canadian goaltender by a land slide, but the current title belt holder for the league.

Marc-Andre Fleury
Yes, this decision is controversial. His back to back playoff meltdowns made it easy to forget his back to back performances that led the Pen’s to a cup final and a cup victory.
Let’s not forget, Bylsma’s run and gun, high risk high reward system was a lot more flattering for the likes of Sid and Geno than the guy who faces the result of turnovers.

Roberto Luongo
Bobby Lou will be 37 come next year, and his prime days are a step behind him. However,Since the third goalie is extremely unlikely to play why not add one that will serve as a leader and great teammate to the other 2?

Most Noteworthy Snubs

Corey Crawford
Somewhat of a modern day Chris Osgood. Do good goalies on great teams get overlooked? Perhaps. Either way, There is enough depth in front of him to justify this snub.

Braydon Holtby
Washington’s subtle superstar has improved each year. He could knock Fleury or Luongo off this squad if he really breaks out in 2015-16.

So there you have it, Canada’s squad for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

My prediction? Gold, as per usual.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: team+canada

Comments

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What kind of season would Connor M need to have to make the team over a guy like Giroux?

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 09/28/15 at 03:26 PM ET

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