Canadian Olympic Hockey Team 2014: Stock Watch for Every Player Ahead of Sochi
The only thing tougher than winning the Olympic gold medal in hockey is winning it twice in a row. Team Canada heads to Russia as the defending champions, but there are hurdles to overcome.
The goaltending is a concern, and the starter is yet to be determined. The defense is stout, and the forwards are as strong as any country in the tournament.
These are the players of Team Canada and how they're performing in the weeks before Sochi.
1. Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks
Last 10 Games: 6 GP (3-3-0), 2.64 GAA, .911 SV%
Key Indicators: Roberto Luongo enters these Olympics as the established starter, having backstopped Team Canada to Olympic gold in Vancouver. His skills have eroded, but he could certainly win the starting job.
Stock: His stock remains the same. Luongo's performance this season has been average, but his veteran status has huge value for the coaching staff. The goaltender that has been there is always going to have appeal when the big game approaches.
2. Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens
Last 10 Games: 9 GP (2-6-1), 3.45 GAA, .897 SV%
Stock: His stock is rising. Price has established himself as a strong contender for the starting job at the Olympics over the last few seasons. His short-term numbers have dipped, but he is healthy and ready for the challenge.
3. Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes
Last 10 Games: 8 GP (4-3-1), 2.51 GAA, .911 SV%
Stock: His stock is falling. He arrives at the Olympics playing about as well as the other two goaltenders, but Smith's role at Sochi will likely be as the third man. That could change, but failure from either Price or Luongo will be required.
4. Jay Bouwmeester, D, St. Louis Blues
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 PTS, -3 +/-
Key Indicators: Jay Bouwmeester plays big minutes in St. Louis and should get lots of work at even strength and on the penalty kill in Sochi. He's so mobile and efficient that Team Canada can rely on him to play extra shifts when required due to injury or penalties.
Stock: Bouwmeester's stock is rising. The coaching staff loves his speed and reach, and he'll play a lot at the Olympics. Fans shouldn't expect to see him on the power play.
5. Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 PTS, -3 +/-
Key Indicators: Drew Doughty is among the five best defensemen in the NHL. He's a shutdown defender, a power-play giant and a superb penalty-killer. Doughty does it all at an extremely high level.
Stock: His stock is rising in a big way. Sochi should be the venue for Doughty to explode on the international scene. Doughty's range of skills—most of them elite—could be the story at the 2014 Olympics.
6. Dan Hamhuis, D, Vancouver Canucks
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PT, -1 +/-
Key Indicators: Dan Hamhuis is the best Canucks defenseman for the second year in a row. He leads the club's blueliners in minutes and plays the tough opponents. He'll be effective in the same role for Team Canada.
Stock: Hamhuis' stock is rising. He's a dynamite shutdown defender and can play heavy even-strength minutes. Penalty-killing is another area he may be useful in Sochi.
7. Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks
Last 10 Games: 9 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 PTS, 0 +/-
Key Indicators: Duncan Keith is playing heavy minutes again this season, and he's doing it in all areas of the game. He's especially strong on the power play this year. Although his skills have eroded since his 2010 Norris Trophy campaign, he's still very effective.
Stock: His stock is rising. Keith is clearly healthy and playing well, and he will play a leadership role for Team Canada at the Olympics. He is a complete NHL veteran defenseman and will get lots of work in Sochi.
8. Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 PTS, 0 +/-
Key Indicators: Alex Pietrangelo is the best defenseman the Blues are sending to represent Canada. He plays the tough opposition—and does it better—and plays more minutes a game than Jay Bouwmeester. If Pietrangelo hasn't reached elite status yet, he's just outside of it.
Stock: His stock is rising. He is unique in that he delivers quality offense, great coverage and does well in things like hits and blocked shots. Pietrangelo will have all on display at Sochi, likely on a pairing with Bouwmeester.
9. P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 PTS, -9 +/-
Key Indicators: P.K. Subban's performance lately may give Team Canada's coaching staff pause about how to use him. Montreal uses him heavily on the power play and at even strength but is using others in the shutdown role.
Stock: His stock is down. Subban was chosen because he had eliminated mistakes and made his game more simple. His recent plays suggests there is a regression. Team Canada wants two-way play, and few mistakes. If Subban can supply it, the coaching staff will use him a lot.
10. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, San Jose Sharks
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, +2 +/-
Key Indicators: Marc-Edouard Vlasic is an elite shutdown defenseman, one of the few players in the NHL who doesn't give his coach ulcers. Calm, reliable and used to heavy minutes and tough zone starts, he is an outstanding player.
Stock: His stock is rising. There are more famous names among the collection of Team Canada defensemen headed to Sochi. The coaching staff will overlook those names and play Vlasic when the game is on the line.
11. Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 5 G, 4 A, 9 PTS, +7 +/-
Stock: His stock is rising. A complete defenseman who can do it all, Team Canada will play him early and often in all situations. Among defensemen, he's likely to play the most. Weber was recently named an alternate captain for Canada.
12. Jamie Benn, LW, Dallas Stars
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 7 G, 6 A, 13 PTS, +5 +/-
Key Indicators: Jamie Benn is among the top even-strength scorers in the NHL. He can play all three forward positions and can win puck battles.
Stock: Benn's stock is rising. He's one of the few players on Team Canada under 25 years old and was chosen over dozens of higher-profile players (like Taylor Hall and Martin St. Louis).
13. Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Bruins
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS, +8 +/-
Key Indicators: Patrice Bergeron is an outstanding two-way center and one of the elite faceoff men in the NHL. He can adapt to a scoring or checking role.
Stock: His stock is rising. Team Canada's strength comes in the number of quality players who play a complete game. Bergeron can help offensively but even more important is the fact that he leaves very little for the opposition to exploit.
14. Jeff Carter, C, Los Angeles Kings
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 3 G, 3 A, 6 PTS, -4 +/-
Key Indicators: Jeff Carter is a dynamic offensive player. His combination of size, speed and skill will make him a quality forward for Canada. He's among the league leaders in shots per game.
Stock: His stock is rising. Carter's goal-scoring ability is well established. He's entering the Olympics playing well and cashing in on his opportunities.
15. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS, 0 +/-
Stock: His stock is rising. Crosby was named captain of Team Canada recently, another in a long line of honors for the impact player.
16. Matt Duchene, C, Colorado Avalanche
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 PTS, -2 +/-
Key Indicators: Matt Duchene is a very talented offensive player who can score goals at even strength and on the power play. Although he's a natural center, Duchene may move to the wing on Team Canada because others are more efficient in the faceoff circle.
Stock: His stock is up. Duchene will serve a role as a complementary player on one of Canada's skill lines, and his ability to play center or wing will benefit him.
17. Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim Ducks
Last 10 Games: 9 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 PTS, +3 +/-
Key Indicators: Ryan Getzlaf is having a fine season with the Anaheim Duck, as he currently ranks among the league leaders in even-strength points. His 22 even-strength goals have him among the league's best.
Stock: His stock is rising. Healthy and winning puck battles, along with his natural scoring abilities, have Getzlaf at the top of his game. He will probably center the third line for Canada.
18. Chris Kunitz, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS, +3 +/-
Key Indicators: Chris Kunitz is an effective complementary player to Sidney Crosby. He's likely to play alongside him on Team Canada's top line during the Olympics.
Stock: His stock is rising. The big question about him was answered when he made the team. His role with the Canadians will be identical to the one he plays for Pittsburgh.
19. Patrick Marleau, C, San Jose Sharks
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 PTS, -2 +/-
Stock: His stock is up. Marleau's goal-scoring abilities are famous, and the Canadian team will rely on him to fill the net in Sochi.
20. Rick Nash, LW, New York Rangers
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 8 G, 0 A, 8 PTS, +6 +/-
Key Indicators: Rick Nash has been scoring well at five-on-five for a subpar Ranger team this season. He is prone to injury and slumps, but he possesses size, skill and speed in large amounts.
Stock: His stock is rising. Team Canada named him to the team because he's been there before, and like Luongo, when the team calls on him, Nash will need to be ready.
21. Corey Perry, RW, Anaheim Ducks
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS, +2 +/-
Stock: His stock is rising. Perry is a difficult player to defend, he can score from anywhere and shoots from odd places. The fact that he shoots a lot only helps his cause.
22. Patrick Sharp, LW, Chicago Blackhawks
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 PTS, -5 +/-
Stock: His stock is up. Sharp heads to Sochi knowing he'll likely play with Jonathan Toews. The duo spends a lot of time together in Chicago and are very successful.
23. Steven Stamkos, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning
Last 10 Games: Steven Stamkos hasn't played since November.
Key Indicators: The major item for Stamkos is health. His recovery has been quick, but he hasn't played an NHL game since his injury. He is targeting Saturday for his return.
Stock: His stock is falling. Stamkos has devoted himself to being ready in time for the Olympics. If he can't play in an NHL game before the break, he may not make the trip.
24. John Tavares, C, New York Islanders
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS, -9 +/-
Key Indicators: John Tavares is one of a very few youngsters on Team Canada's Olympic roster. His effectiveness on the power play will no doubt be utilized in Sochi.
Stock: His stock is rising. Tavares is unlikely to play a feature role at this Olympics, but he'll be an integral part of the 2018 team. He should receive plenty of power-play opportunities for Canada.
25. Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks
Last 10 Games: 10 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 PTS, -2 +/-
Stock: His stock is rising. Toews is a leader, and Team Canada will likely take its personality from him: all business. He is an alternate captain for Canada.