Projecting Canada’s 2022 Olympic men’s hockey roster

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·5 min read
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We finally have an Olympic agreement! The NHL, IIHF, and IOC worked out a deal that will allow the league to send players to Beijing, the first time they will participate since the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

Individual federations have until Oct. 15 to submit their “long lists” before announcing final rosters in early January.

Now that we know players will be back at the Olympics, it’s time to give some early roster projections. We’ll re-visit this exercise in December as we get closer to final roster announcements.

The PHT team have submitted our initial rosters for both the U.S. and Canadian teams. Some very tough decisions were made!

We’ve already given our picks for the U.S. here. This is who we see will make Canada’s final roster.

Sean Leahy, NHL Writer

FORWARDS

Nathan MacKinnonConnor McDavidMitch Marner
Brad MarchandSidney CrosbyPatrice Bergeron
Jonathan HuberdeauJohn TavaresMark Stone
Ryan O’Reilly – Brayden PointSean Couturier
Mathew Barzal, Mark Scheifele

There are some obvious choices for GM Doug Armstrong. Then there are the tougher decisions down the lineup. The Canadian ‘B’ team that is left off the main roster would likely push for a medal if given the opportunity. Jon Cooper will have so many roster options at his disposal. How strong do you go down the middle, or do you power up and put someone like MacKinnon on the wing?

DEFENSE

Shea TheodoreCale Makar
Adam PelechAlex Pietrangelo
Jakob ChychrunJared Spurgeon
Dougie Hamilton, Morgan Rielly

Time for some new blood! Good-bye Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, P.K. Subban and Kris Letang. Hello, Shea, Cale, Adam, Jakob and Jared. Interestingly, Chychrun could have played for the U.S., but decided to represent Canada on the international stage.

GOALIES

Marc-Andre FleuryCarey PriceDarcy Kuemper

Price had knee surgery this summer and is expected to be ready when the NHL season begins, but Fleury has passed him in the Canadian goalie order. The third spot could be an interesting race. Jordan Binnington, Cam Talbot, Mackenzie Blackwood, Carter Hart could all find themselves in contention. Same for Tristan Jarry if he can play like he did in the second half of last season and not like he did against the Islanders.

hockey canada
Alexander DemianchukTASS via Getty Images

James O’Brien, NHL Writer

FORWARDS

Connor McDavid – Sidney Crosby – Nathan MacKinnon
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Brayden Point
Jonathan Huberdeau – Sean Couturier – Mark Stone
Taylor HallRyan O'Reilly – Mitch Marner
Mathew Barzal, Claude Giroux

When in doubt, go with blinding skill. When that doesn’t help that much, then let versatility break remaining ties. This forward group combines star power with two-way acumen, with two extras who could easily step into prominent roles based on injuries and slumps.

DEFENSE

Adam Pelech – Cale Makar
Shea Theodore – Alex Pietrangelo
Morgan Rielly – Dougie Hamilton
Jared Spurgeon, Thomas Chabot

Generally, finding the right mix of handedness (one left, one right), and sometimes style (one “safer” defenseman, one who “roves”) dictated pairings and other key decisions. In 2022, will Pietrangelo be a better second-pairing option than Hamilton or Spurgeon? Unclear, but Theodore and Pietrangelo (ideally) have crucial experience together as Golden Knights teammates that could make a difference. A more risk-averse Team Canada might only want to bring along one of Rielly or Chabot, but this one leans toward living dangerously.

GOALIES

Marc-Andre Fleury – Darcy Kuemper – Carey Price

Hmm, well, hopefully Canada’s most famous goalies end up being worth all of the hype? At least Fleury (Vezina) and Price (playoff Price) enjoyed strong runs that were also recent. Frankly, Team Canada might want to keep an eye on the first chunk of the 2021-22 season and see if any goalie puts a hot streak together.

Hockey Canada
Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Adam Gretz, NHL Writer

FORWARDS

Nathan MacKinnon – Connor McDavid – Mark Stone
Brad Marchand – Sidney Crosby – Patrice Bergeron
Jonathan Huberdeau – Brayden Point – Mitch Marner
Taylor Hall – Sean Couturier – Mathew Barzal
Steven Stamkos, Ryan O’Reilly

I mean, come on. This is absurd. You could build a gold medal-winning forward group just out of players that play center. MacKinnon and McDavid on the same line? Video game stuff. Crosby and Bergeron always play well together and then you add Marchand to that duo? How does the other team ever touch the puck. Brayden Point, third line-center? Good luck, everybody!

DEFENSE

Cale Makar – Dougie Hamilton
Shea Theodore – Alex Pietrangelo
Adam Pelech – Jared Spurgeon
Morgan Rielly, Jacob Chychrun

If Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban, Mark Giordano, or Brent Burns are anywhere this roster it is out of loyalty and reputation and nothing more. Time to turn the page to the future, and that future is still insanely bright. Makar and Hamilton are game-changers, and while this might be the “weakest” part of the roster there is nothing really weak about it. Everybody here is a bonafide top-pairing NHL defensemen.

GOALIES

Marc-Andre Fleury – Carey Price – Carter Hart

Fleury and Price are the slam dunk choices because, well, they are still the two best Canadian goalies and can still play at a high level. Hart is my out of left field wild card pick. I say he bounces back this season with a strong first half and that gets him a spot on the roster.

hockey canada
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor

FORWARDS

Jonathan Huberdeau – Connor McDavid – Mitch Marner
Ryan O’Reilly – Nathan McKinnon – Mark Stone
Brad Marchand – Sidney Crosby – Patrice Bergeron
Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Mark Scheifele
Mathew Barzal, Sean Couturier

The tough part about Team Canada was there were so many deserving players like John Tavares who fell just short. The four lines give Canada plenty of scoring on all lines with players capable of playing defense. I wish I could have added Alexis Lafrenière to the team as well.

DEFENSE

Shea Theodore, Cale Makar
Morgan Rielly, Alex Pietrangelo

Drew Doughty, Dougie Hamilton
Aaron Ekblad, Thomas Chabot

I like Doughty on Canada as he provides a veteran presence. Makar is a star and don’t be surprised if Ekblad moves up the depth chart.

GOALIES

Darcy Kuemper – Carey Price – Marc-Andre Fleury

I know this is controversial but I think that everyone will see how good Kuemper is in Colorado rather than being buried in Arizona. There is no problem if Price is number one as well.

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Projecting Canada’s 2022 Olympic men’s hockey roster originally appeared on NBCSports.com