NHL·Analysis

Canadian Olympic men's hockey power rankings: Players raising eyebrows

Between now and the team announcement, CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo will be providing you with his ongoing versions of Team Canada ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, as well as some players who are doing their best to get GM Doug Armstrong's attention.

Stamkos, Doughty off to hot starts, but is it enough to warrant a Team Canada spot?

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos warms up during a game against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Now that we know NHLers will be heading to Beijing to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics, sports talk in this country will centre around picking Team Canada.

Keeping in mind the NHL season is active, players are essentially auditioning for a spot, and the predicted rosters will essentially change on a regular basis.

Between now and the team announcement, I will be providing you with his ongoing versions of Team Canada, as well as some players who are doing their best to get GM Doug Armstrong's attention.

Although there is plenty of hockey left to play before the team announcement is officially made, we figure ... why wait!

Teams can dress 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goalies (plus an extra player at each position).

The season is just over a week old and let's face facts, that is nowhere near enough hockey for someone to play themselves on or off my team.

However, that's not to say some players didn't raise my eyebrows (in a good AND bad way!)

First things first, here is my team as it stands right now.

(Reminder: Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Alex Pietrangelo have officially been named to the team)

WATCH | Rob Pizzo breaks down his updated Team Canada a week into new season:

Canadian Olympic men's hockey power rankings: Ep. 2

2 months ago
3:42
The NHL season is just over a week old. Is that enough hockey to force Rob Pizzo to change his version of Team Canada? 3:42

Forwards

First line

Left wing: Jonathan Huberdeau, Fla

Became the first Panther to score 500 points.

Centre: Connor McDavid, Edm

Has added a pretty awesome one-timer to his arsenal in the off-season.

Right wing: Nathan Mackinnon, Col

Missed some time because of Covid, but he's back.

Second line

(LW: Brad Marchand, Bos; C: Sidney Crosby; RW: Patrice Bergeron, Bos)

Crosby is still out recovering from off-season wrist surgery, and the Bruins are only two games into the season. I'm still not touching this proven line.

Third line

(LW: Mathew Barzal, NYI; C: Brayden Point;, TB, RW: Mark Stone, Vegas)

This is where things get interesting. Mark Stone had to leave the Golden Knights' game against the Kings with a lower body injury.

It was an innocent looking play, but in the end he needed two teammates to help him to the dressing room. He is listed as day-to-day, but let's hope for Team Canada's sake that this is not some sort of lingering injury.

Fourth line

(LW: Ryan O'Reilly, StL; C: Mark Scheifele, Wpg; RW: Mitch Marner, Tor)

Mitch Marner's early numbers may not show it (1 assist in 4 games), but he is creating a ton of scoring chances. The puck will eventually go in.

On the bubble: Steven Stamkos, TB

Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty has seven points in three games to begin the new NHL season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Defencemen

(Jakob Chychrun, Ari-Cale Makar, Col; Shea Theodore, Vegas-Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas; Adam Pelech, NYI-Aaron Ekblad, Fla; Morgan Rielly, Tor; On the bubble: Dougie Hamilton, NJ)

Goalies

  • Carey Price, Mtl
  • Marc-Andre Fleury, Chi
  • Carter Hart, Pha

Raising some eyebrows

1. Steven Stamkos

I had the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stamkos as my "extra forward" which pretty much means he would be the first drop if a player made some waves.

All he did was finish the first week near the top of the NHL in scoring and already has an OT winner, so he maintains that spot.

2. Drew Doughty

When it comes to the blue-line, people were pretty angry at me a couple weeks ago for not putting Drew Doughty of the LA Kings on the team.

I'm already getting a lot of "I told you so" messages as he put up seven points in his first three games of the season. I'm still not budging on my decision (yet).

3. Goalies

When Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price voluntarily entered the player assistance program, hockey was the last thing on anyone's mind. He will be out for at least 30 days, but until we know more, Price is on the team.

So is Marc-Andre Fleury, even though his start in the windy city has been bumpy at times. Let's face it, Chicago is not Vegas. He has a whole new team in front of him, so let's give him some time.

Finally, Philadelphia Flyers' Carter Hart (despite having one of the early candidates for save of the year) has looked ... meh.

I'm going to give him some time as well, but his leash is much shorter than Fleury's, especially with St. Louis Blues' Jordan Binnington waiting in the wings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Pizzo has been a reporter for CBC Sports based out of Toronto since 2013. He has covered the NHL for Hockey Night in Canada, CBC, and was rinkside at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now