In this country, we are heavily bonded and brought together by the sport of hockey, and the moments it has provided us with on the international stage for what has been generations.
During the Winter Olympic Games, we don’t only have the privilege of taking in the best of the best in sports such as snowboarding, skiing, figure skating and bobsleigh, but in the perfect scenario and contractual agreement allows it, we get to see the best international ice hockey competition the world has to offer.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeoung-Cheng, South Korea, the National Hockey League as well as its players, along with the IOC ( International Olympic Committee) could not formally agree on a contract to securely and profitably send its players to Asia for the Olympics.
With that, the usual star-studded ice hockey tournament that has provided us with immortal moments like Sidney Crosby’s ‘golden goal’ or the 1998 goaltending performance of Dominik Hasek, stoning the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic on route to the Czech Republic upset of Team Canada.
So after what will be eight years come the 2022 games, the NHL and its players are expected to close a deal and make a triumphant return to the Olympic hockey competition, where the league will send its deepest pool of quality international talent ever to the city of Beijing.
Briefly scouting and looking across the globe at what the opposing countries will have to offer as far as roster depth, I can confirm that on paper this will be the most intriguing and surprising tournament perhaps in Olympic history.
The United States will be a powerhouse, rostering an elite group of young forwards getting their first tastes of international hockey, from Auston Matthews to Brock Boeser, the back end poised to be highly skilled as well with Quinn Hughes and Seth Jones. Their goaltending will be the best one-two punch in the tournament, with Vezina caliber products John Gibson and Connor Hellebyuck between the pipes.
If you keep the puck on a 4-on-1, you better have a shot like Brock Boeser pic.twitter.com/XKCH8GdO75
— Gregory Balloch (@GregBalloch) February 18, 2021
Elsewhere, Sweden, Finland and Russia are the usual European giants that Canada has to navigate their way around. Yet, that isn’t where this pool of teams will stop showing firepower.
The Czech’s will boast a goal-scoring squad with David Pastrnak and Tomas Hertl. The Swiss are generating NHL talent, too, with the likes of Roman Josi and Kevin Fiala leading the way.
Even the Germans, who had success without NHL players in 2018, will add Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl and Tim Stützle into the mix.
This tournament will be a lot different from the rest, and after a long eight years of craving some stacked Team Canada hockey on the biggest stage of them all, it feels good to know that it will most likely be back again in the near future.
Projecting the 2022 Team Canada Olympic roster in Beijing, China –
This is going to be awesome. Canada is always known to be the best of the best, so I guess we can call this specific roster the best of the best of the best. That is a lot to read so let’s put it this way…
GOALS ARE FUN.
This group of forwards will certainly have no trouble doing just that, scoring goals. Keep in mind that this team will have some very noteworthy and significant cuts prior to the official naming of the team. As the head office of Team Canada was recently named, GM Doug Armstrong and AGM Don Sweeney will not likely be constructing this roster off pure goal-scoring ability, they will make room for the roles that need to be filled.
— BarDown (@BarDown) February 18, 2021
That being said, the top line of Connor McDavid, Mitch Marner and Mathew Barzal will have a lot of fun playing together. The speed, IQ and overall playmaking ability of these three players combined are higher than any line ever constructed, simple as that. These three will be key contributors to Canada’s offense, and will likely make up part of the top powerplay unit.
Filling out the next line, I have the Pearl Harbour, Nova Scotia boys together on a gritty second line. Nathan Mackinnon and Sidney Crosby will play in all situations for this team, and probably together. On their other wing, I’ve decided to slot in another two-way star Brayden Point, whose speed and agility in on the boards will open up the middle of the ice for the other two.
In the bottom six, I love the sound of Mark Schiefele in the middle of Steven Stamkos and Mark Stone. Three responsible players in their own end that have a knack for scoring goals as well. They should see the most favorable matchups and be able to provide depth scoring when Canada needs it. On line four, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are the best penalty killers in the league, adding Ryan O’Reilly with the duo makes too much sense.
On the back-end, I am projecting that Canada will look for the six fastest, most currently proven defenders there are right now. That would leave the likes of Drew Doughty and Shea Weber off this team.
Pairing number 1 has Shea Theodore and Aaron Ekblad as the teams’ shutdown duo. They are heavy, dynamic and able to shut down any teams top talent on any given night.
Shea Theodore's goal in slow-mo is magical pic.twitter.com/F2WVxw3kgO
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 17, 2019
The next pair consists of Cale Makar as the teams lead offensive weapon on defence, accompanied by Hockey Canada legend Alex Pietrangelo. This duo would be scary for other teams as they can get it done at 100% on either end of the ice.
Finally, rounding out the defence core I have Morgan Rielly and Dougie Hamilton. Both of these players have the most responsibility on their respective teams to perform at an elite level, and I expect them to contribute mightily on the end of Canada’s defensive line.
I mentioned the caliber of Team USA’s goaltending earlier, and I believe Canada is a very close second to them.
If Carey Price shows he is still the type of netminder we saw in Sochi come next year, he should be a lock for the starter’s job in Canada’s crease.
Backing him up, it will be an ongoing battle between Jordan Binnington and Carter Hart. Binnington of course has the luxury of his own GM being the head of Canada’s roster construction, but Hart will make a strong case when the final decisions are being made.
Shaking hands with your idol. 🤝
— NHLonNBCSports (@NHLonNBCSports) August 22, 2020
No matter how it shakes out, this team will be the most talented and game-proven roster in the history of the NHL at the Olympics…
Are you ready, Canada?
Marner – McDavid – Barzal
Mackinnon – Crosby – Point
Stone – Scheifele – Stamkos
Marchand – Bergeron – O’Reilly
Theodore – Ekblad
Pietrangelo – Makar
Rielly – Hamilton
Evan Power, Evolution 107.9