Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into camp, this group is squarely on the bubble, meaning that their chances are roughly 50-50 to make Yzerman's final cut. The upside for this group is that if they start the season playing their best hockey, there could be room for them on this roster.
Martin St. Louis
Of these seven, at least four or five will make the team (assuming the nine ranked above them do as well, and the nine ranked below them do not), and each of the players in this group brings something different to the table.
For now, Bergeron is the closest to a sure thing, with Richards, Carter and Sharp just behind him, and there's a reason for that. Staal and Neal have both had success in postseason play, but not to the same degree that the previously mentioned four have, at least lately. Obviously Bergeron and Richards, as returning members of Team Canada, have a leg up, but Sharp and Carter figure to earn spots as well.
It's also worth noting that Carter was the final cut from 2010 squad, so one has to assume he'll come storming out of the gates this season. If Jordan Staal starts the season playing strong two-way hockey, he'll edge Neal out for one of the final spots up front.
Martin St. Louis is a possibility as well, because he does play for Yzerman's NHL club in Tampa Bay and has built up a dangerous partnership with Steven Stamkos, who will be a fixture on Canada's power play regardless.
The defense corps on this team will be as deep as any group Hockey Canada has ever put together, and that's why there are so many guys on the bubble heading into the season. If Yzerman elects to go with a puck-moving blueliner with offensive ability, Green might have the edge over Boyle after the Capitals star's resurgence last season, but Phaneuf's physical game may earn him a look as well.
Beyond them, Alex Pietrangelo has a good chance at cracking the squad after serving as the Blues' top defenseman for the last two seasons. New York's Marc Staal also had a reasonably favorable chance, but unless he shows he's fully recovered from his eye injury, he still comes with some red flags attached.
After winning the Cup in dramatic fashion, Crawford enters the season as the most likely candidate to get the No. 3 role, but it's not a lock at this point. He's had some prolonged slumps in the past, so if he struggles in the early going, Holtby or Smith could conceivably leapfrog him on the depth chart.