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Depth at Center: Depth down the middle is critical to Olympic success because it's the most important position (excluding goaltender) and the defensive responsibilities are increased on an Olympic-sized sheet of ice.
Luckily for Canada, it has an abundance of world-class talent at center, including the two best offensive players in the NHL with Crosby and Stamkos. Whether Canada is on the power play, needs to shut down an opposing forward or take an important defensive zone faceoff, Babcock will have plenty of quality centers to put on the ice in any situation.
Gold Medal Experience: One of the most important aspects of winning teams that's often taken for granted is experience. Canada could have as many as 15 returning players from the gold medal team in Vancouver. This will help the team battle through adversity and handle the pressure and expectations from fans and media.
These players know how much hard work, both physically and mentally, is required to win the gold medal in Olympic competition, which will give Canada a tremendous advantage over teams with rosters lacking similar experience.
Goaltending: Luongo is a quality goaltender, but his recent Olympic and NHL playoff struggles are a concern. He was shaky in the gold medal game three years ago and has been far from stellar throughout his playoff career with the Canucks, including his meltdown in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final that cost Vancouver its first ever championship.
Aside from Luongo, no other goalie invited to Canada's training camp has experience on the Olympic stage, which isn't ideal for a top gold medal contender. Goaltending is almost always Canada's biggest weakness during Olympic competition and there's no reason to believe that won't be the case in Sochi.
Players Playing Out of Position: Canada has too many centers worthy of a spot on the final roster, and some of them, including John Tavares and Claude Giroux, are too talented to be left off the roster even though they might not deserve one of the four center spots.
This will create a situation where guys are forced to be off position on the wing, which won't be an easy transition because it's a much different role, offensively and defensively, than playing down the middle.
With that said, players such as Tavares and Giroux are capable of handling this switch and still performing at a high level, but it will make constructing the team's four lines a tougher challenge for Babcock and his coaching staff.