Back in October, I started looking at the team that our Great Nation will field at home to defend our honour. A number of players that I did not have on my team who have been having phenomenal seasons, and a few that I had on my list who need to get dropped as a result. Since the 2010 games are less than 365 days from now, this is a good time to revise the list and see some changes.
2006 Roster: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marty Turco
Glen's October Prediction: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price
Despite having missed most of the season, Brodeur is still a virtual lock for the goaltending trio. Roberto Luongo started out incredibly hot, but got injured, and has slowed down a bit since returning, but is another one of those players who should stay as one of the top two tenders.
I still have the utmost confidence in Martin Brodeur serving as the starter, he won the 2002 Gold Medal, and remains one of the greatest high pressure goalies of all time.
Price has struggled a bit of late, but I still have faith in him. This is mostly because other contenders like Gigure and Ward have struggled as well. I think that Price should have a spot still on this team, but he could be threatend by Blue Jackets sensation, Steve Mason, who should run away with the Calder Trophy, mono or not. If he has as successful of a sophmore season as his rookie campaign, expect him to get some serious consideration for the third spot.
Glen's Current Prediction: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price
2006 Roster: Rob Blake, Jay Bouwmeester, Adam Foote, Bryan McCabe, Chris Pronger, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr Reserves: Dan Boyle, Injured: Scott Niedermayer, Ed Jovanovski
Glen's October Prediction:
Phaneuf - Weber
Pronger - Burns
Niedermayer - Bouwmeester
Like my goaltending predictions, I remain pretty confident with the selections. Shea Weber had an excellent start to the season, and while he has slowed a bit, he has solidified himself as one of the top defensemen in the league. Mike Green has far exceeded expectation, and is currently scoring over a point a game, which is simply breathtaking for a defenseman. As a result, he deserves a higher spot on the roster than 7th defenseman.
Dan Boyle has been having a very good season, playing for a very good team, and as a result he no doubt deserves a spot on the roster, which would probably bump Brent Burns down to the reserves (which is fine, since he could also sub in as a defensive forward should one of them get injured) and leaves Brian Campbell, sadly, off the team. However, the Blackhawks d-man would be the first choice should Scott Neidermayer elect to retire.
Glen's Current Prediction:
Phaneuf - Weber
Pronger - Green
S. Niedermayer - Bouwmester
2006 Roster: Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton Reserves: Jason Spezza, Eric Staal
Glen's October Prediction:
Lecavalier - Crosby - Iginla
Nash - Getzlaf - Healtey
Towes - Thornton - Spezza
Morrow - M. Richards - Perry
Reserves: Stamkos, Horton
This is easily the most difficult roster spot to fill. There is simply a glut of talent here, which makes Steve Yzerman's selection incredibly difficult. This is also the spot that I see the most amount of change coming.
The first most obvious addition is Jeff Carter. After struggling last season, he has been one of the biggest break-out stars of the season, and is currently second to Alexander Ovechkin in goals scored, so not only is he a no-brainer to add to the team, I have him penciled to play with Sydney Crosby on the top line, as those two would be certain to generate some magic on the ice. Also, there is one of the most underrated players in the league, Marc Savard, who is finally getting recognized as the superstar that he is. He is comfortably in the top ten in scoring, where he should stay for the rest of the year. His one problem though, is that he is a natural playmaker, and in reality each line only needs one star playmaker, so I have him low on the order as he will probably lose out on playing time to the likes Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton. Lastly, Patrick Marleau has really emerged from the doghouse and has played like the world class two-way player that we know that he is. I think that he would be an excellent addition to the checking line.
Jason Spezza is the most obvious player to eliminate. While he hasn't been as bad as he has been made out to be, he still has not played at nearly high enough of a level to make a team this elite, same for Eric Staal. Steven Stamkos does not seem to be adequetly prepared for the NHL, so 2010 may be a little too soon, and I would be surprised if Tavares is ready, even for a shadow squad. Nathan Horton has been decent, but hardly superstar worthy, so scratch him as well. Also, even though Toews has had a sub-par year, I think that he is made for high pressure moments, like this tournament, so he stays on, at least for the time being.
So the forwards should look like this:
Carter - Crosby - Iginla
Nash - Getzlaf - Heatley
LeCavalier - Thoronton - Toews
Morrow - M. Richards - Marleau
Reserves: Perry, Doan
In all honesty, a lot about this really depends on who wins the Stanley Cup. If Detroit wins again, then Babcock is a lock, if Montreal fulfills the magic it should be Carbonneau, and if Boston completes the Cinderella story, expect Claude Julien, and if the Sharks finally get it done, it will be McLellan. However, there are still a few big names in the mix, namely Ken Hitchcock, Brent Sutter, and Wayne Gretzky. My last prediction was Carbonneau with Hitchcock and Sutter as his assistants, and while I still think that is a good team, I may be leaning slightly differently now. I think that Babcock can not really be ignored, and he should be reunited with McLellan (former Red Wings assistant coach) to handle the offense, and Julien to deal with the defense.
Keep tuning back, I will probably have another few of these posts in the coming months, and also, I will try and predict any potential obstacles.
Until next time,
Journey to Gold - Edition I
Obstacles to Gold - Edition I (United States and Russia)