Who Wants Gretzky's Job?

Looking at this coming years Team Canada team, this might be the hardest team to pick in the history of hockey. There is at least 45 or so good Canadian hockey players that anyone could make an argument for to make this years team. This is a list of some of the players that will be considered for this year’s team.

Veterans

Forwards:

1) Sakic (Tied for second in the league in points)

2) Iginla (Tied for most goals in the NHL)

3) Lemieux (Captain of last Canadian Olympic team)

4) Kariya (Tough year in Colorado being injured or struggling all the time)

5) Yzerman (Tied for 2nd in points on last Canadian Olympic team)

6) Smyth (Always participates on every Canadian team he can)

7) Peca (Had a tough year with the Islander, but a defensive specialist)

8) Shanahan (Career lows in Detroit this year)

9) Nieuwendyk (Good year with the Leafs, and is reliable)

10) Lindros (Always injured and only played 40 games this year)

11) Gagne (Average year in Philly, but was great on the Sakic and Iginla line)

Defense:

1) Niedermayer (Norris Trophy nominee this year)

2) Pronger (Norris Trophy nominee this year)

3) Foote (Solid player every year, and one of the toughest)

4) Jovanovski (Injured for many games, but is the future of the defense core)

5) Blake (Top 10 defensemen in the NHL)

6) Brewer (Had a bad year and was a minus player)

Rookies (Players not on last Olympic team)

Forwards:

1) Tanguay (Tied for 9th in NHL scoring)

2) Richards (Tied for 9th in NHL scoring)

3) Bertuzzi (One of the best players in the NHL infront of the net)

4) Heatley (Tough incident but was solid at WC’s, and is the future for team Canada)

5) Thorton (Had an off year but is the future of team Canada)

6) Murray (111 goals in last 3 seasons)

7) Nash (Tied for most goals in the NHL, and is the future)

8) Lecvalier (32 goals and people are saying he had a tough year)

9) St.Louis (Most points in the NHL)

10) Marleau (One of the best players in this years playoffs and one of the fastest)

11) Doan (Solid all around player, looked good at WC last year)

Defensemen:

1) Bouwmeester (Was great at WC’s and is the future defense leader)

2) Redden (Solid puck moving defensemen)

3) McCabe (Norris type stats this year)

4) Boyle (Has been solid the last couple of years)

5) Jackman (Last year’s rookie of the year)

6) Auccoin (Plus 29 with 44 points)

Defensive Forward Specialist

1) Draper (Selke nominee with 24 goals in 67 games)

2) Maltby (Provides one-two punch with Draper)

3) Madden (Selke nominee)

4) Primeau (One of the hardest players in the NHL to play against)

Goaltending

1) Brodeur (The best goaltender in the world)

2) Luongo (Maybe the best goaltender in hockey and looked good at the WC’s)

3) Belfour (Toronto’s MVP past two seasons)

4) Theodore (Good season and playoffs)

5) Turco (Okay stats but choked in playoffs)

6) Raycroft (Possible rookie of the year)

7) Rolson (MVP of Minny and put up some solid stats)

8) Giguere (Even though he had a bad season, he was a Conn Smyth winner not to long ago)

So I guess Gretzky and the coaches are going to have a tough time narrowing down the team to 23 players. I decided myself to give it a try and found it is a lot harder then people think.

Forwards: Looking at the forwards, I found 11 of them I would want on my team no matter what, and as long as they aren’t injured: Sakic, Lemieux, Bertuzzi, Heatley, Lecavalier, St.Louis, Iginla, Thorton, Nash, Marleau and Doan. I would have the lines set up as so:

Lemieux Sakic Bertuzzi

Heatley Lecavalier St.Louis

Iginla Thorton Nash

Doan Marleau

That leaves two spots open. If the coaches decided to go with veterans, I would put Yzerman and Nieuwendyk in there, but if they decided to add two defensive specialist in there I would put Maltby and Draper in there. Personally I really liked the line of Draper, Maltby and Doan at the last WC’s.

Defense: On defense there is pretty much five spots already wrapped up with Niedermayer, Pronger, Blake, Foote and Jovanovski. That leaves two spots open for Bouwmeester, McCabe, Redden and Jackman to battle for. If they want to go with kids so they can gain experience then they should add Bouwmeester and Jackman, but they will most likely take McCabe for the sixth spot and either pick Bouwmeester or Jackman for the 7th spot.

Goaltending: I think this might be the easiest to group to pick from, since Brodeur, and Luongo look like the top 2, and since Belfour has been a third goalie before I would go with him again.

Either way this year’s team when it is picked will draw a lot of praise and at the same time a lot of criticism from hockey fans across Canada. There will be a few injuries a long the way not to mention incidents that might stop certain players from participating, but either way it should be a fun summer for hockey experts to get their pens and paper out and start to dream up lines.