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Sports How Team Canada might have looked with NHLers at the Olympics

19:15  10 january  2018
19:15  10 january  2018 Source:   sportsnet.ca

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This is how we think the 2018 Canadian men's Olympic roster might have looked with NHL players. Consider it an exercise in what might have been. There will be plenty of fantastic stories when Team Canada is unveiled Thursday morning in Calgary, but there won’t be the debate that

We recently took a gander at how Team Canada might have looked with NHLers at the Olympics and we’d be remiss if we didn’t do the same and examine the potential firepower a Team USA lineup could’ve boasted With that in mind, here’s what Team USA could’ve looked like at the 2018 Games.

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Consider it an exercise in what might have been.

There will be plenty of fantastic stories when Team Canada is unveiled Thursday morning in Calgary, but there won’t be the debate that normally surrounds the announcement because of a lack of familiarity with the players and choices involved.

That most certainly wouldn’t have been the case had the NHL chosen to continue its Olympic participation for the Pyeongchang Games. The Canadian brass would have been picking a 25-man roster from a list of at least 50 players with gold-standard bonafides and resumes.

Arguably the most difficult decisions would have surrounded which longstanding members of the team to move on from, especially after the dominant run through the Sochi Games four years ago. Loyalty is always a delicate subject around Team Canada.

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Canadian Olympic Team : What Team Canada Would Look Like With NHLers In Korea. The 2018 Olympics would have been a lot better with NHLers (I can already hear half of you shouting at me, wondering how I could leave Toews off the list.

From Team USA to Canada , and Russia to Sweden, we came up with our ideal rosters for the medal contenders. Harry How /Getty Images. The word "transition" comes to mind when looking at the Team Finland roster, four years after its win over the United States for Olympic bronze. As for the snubs, Puljujarvi might be the most notable. But at 19 years old and now just getting his sea legs in

With that in mind, here’s how we think the 2018 Olympic roster might have looked with NHL players:

Forwards

Nathan MacKinnon –Connor McDavid–Steven Stamkos

Brad Marchand –Sidney Crosby–Patrice Bergeron

Jamie Benn –Jonathan Toews–Mark Scheifele

Taylor Hall –John Tavares–Mark Stone

Extras: Tyler Seguin, Claude Giroux.

Defence

Duncan Keith –Drew Doughty

Morgan Rielly –Alex Pietrangelo

Mark Giordano –Dougie Hamilton

Extras: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, P.K. Subban.

Goaltenders

Carey Price

Braden Holtby

Extra: Corey Crawford

Change is afoot here, with only 11 returning gold-medal winners from Sochi. We’ve most notably moved on from Shea Weber, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Jeff Carter – each part of the dominant core of numerous national teams dating back to the 2005 world junior tournament.

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Of course no NHL player will be at the Winter Olympics in South Korea come February, but that didn't stop Craig Button from creating a mock Team Canada

Canada ’s 2014 Olympic team was star-studded with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, John Tavares and Jonathan Toews, The 25-man roster’s one-year salary cap hit was more than US0 million More from Sportsnet. How Team Canada might have looked with NHLers at the Olympics .

In their place we have a top line built entirely with players who would be making their Olympic debuts. They just happen to be three of the most productive NHLers this season.

Keeping Marchand, Crosby and Bergeron intact after their dominant performance at the 2016 World Cup is an easy decision, but then it gets tougher. Scheifele is a smart player who can shift between centre and the wing, if needed, and he grabs the open spot beside holdovers Benn and Toews.

A fourth line of Hall, Tavares and Stone should have the puck all the time. We like Stone in this position because of his ability to kill penalties alongside Tavares.

The biggest opening on the blue line comes behind Keith on the left side, and we’ve rewarded the smooth-skating Rielly for his breakout campaign. He slots in beside Pietrangelo. That leaves Doughty to log big minutes with Keith.

In the past, Team Canada has occasionally been guilty of overthinking the built-in chemistry between NHL teammates. Great players tend not to need much time to find their way with other great players. However, when you have a pairing as dominant Giordano and Hamilton have been for the Calgary Flames, there is a clear benefit in bringing them along as a duo.

Perhaps the most difficult decision still to be made would rest with Mike Babcock and his coaching staff: Who starts in goal?

Price isn’t having his best season and Holtby’s numbers are off as well. Crawford built the strongest case of them all based on recent performance. We’ve decided to name him to the team despite the fact he’s currently sidelined with a concussion.

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