Hockey Canada released the preliminary roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and players such as Jamie Benn, Patrick Marleau and Dan Girardi were snubbed from a invite to camp.
Canada is a hockey powerhouse with many options, but the following players at the very least deserved a chance to compete for a roster spot. While there are ultimately going to be a few stars that don't make the final cut, here are the initial subs from Team Canada's preliminary roster.
Dan Girardi has come a long way since being drafted.
Player Dossier: Defense | New York Rangers | 6'1"; 206 lbs.
Throughout his career Dan Girardi hasn't garnered the recognition he truly deserves. He was undrafted and he had to make a name for himself by becoming one of the NHL's top defenders. He was an All-Star in 2011-12 and he has slowly become an anchor for the Rangers on the blue line.
While Girardi would be far from a lock to make the team, he deserved the nomination more than Karl Alzner, Jay Bouwmeester and Travis Hamonic.
Neither of the above defensemen are as consistent as Girardi, and they don't have as strong as a chance of making the roster. Girardi has experience shutting down top offensive players, and that would have given him a chance to be a solid sixth or seventh defender for Team Canada.
Kane has a bright future, but he deserved a shot at making the team this year.
Player Dossier: Left Wing | Winnipeg Jets | 6'2"; 195 lbs.
Evander Kane will be 22 by the time the Sochi games start, and the young sniper could have been a long shot to make the roster. He won’t have that chance because he was not named to Team Canada’s preliminary roster.
Kane is an explosive scorer with a great shot and he is a mobile skater who is creative in open ice.
Canada has a number of scoring wingers who can get the job the done, but Kane's arsenal would have made him a valuable asset.
Marleau could be a viable third or fourth-line player.
Player Dossier: Left Wing/Center | San Jose Sharks | 6'2"; 220 lbs.
Patrick Marleau was a member of Team Canada's Olympic roster in 2010, and it is surprising that the 33-year-old two-way forward was not invited to camp.
Over the last three seasons, Marleau has posted a point-per-game average of 0.79, and he has been an effective offensive and defensive player for the Sharks.
His international experience and well-rounded game would make him a versatile fit for the team, and he would provide more value that "Jumbo" Joe Thornton.
Spezza is a very puzzling snub.
Player Dossier: Center | Ottawa Senators | 6'3"; 216 lbs.
While Canada arguably has a copious amount of depth at center, Jason Spezza has to be invited to camp. Throughout his career he has averaged over a point-per-game, a clutch playoff performer and a solid two-way player.
He has experience internationally at various World Championships, and he has more than earned the right to represent his country internationally.
Spezza's all-around game would make him an appropriate player for this tournament, and it is puzzling that he was omitted from the roster.
Benn is a more complete player than some of the players invited to camp.
Player Dossier: Left Wing/Center | Dallas Stars | 6'2"; 205 lbs.
Jamie Benn is a rising star at the NHL level and he should have been a candidate for Team Canada's bottom six.
It is mind boggling that Jordan Staal, Mike Richards and Brad Marchand were invited to camp, because Benn brings more value to the table. He has size, physicality and the ability to score and he plays a complete two-way game.
When building a roster it makes sense to add versatile players who can play anywhere, and Benn would have filled that role.