Steve Yzerman Corrects Roster Blunder by Adding Martin St. Louis to Team Canada

Dave Lozo@@davelozoNHL National Lead WriterFebruary 6, 2014

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Martin St. Louis #26 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is presented with a silver stick commemorating his 1,000th NHL game by Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman during the pre game ceremony prior to the game against the New York Rangers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on November 25, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Scott Audette/Getty Images

It took four years and a catastrophic injury to one of the best players in the world, but general manager Steve Yzerman finally made the correct decision with a Team Canada roster.

Marty St. Louis, come on down! You're a member of Team Canada!

(But only because Steven Stamkos couldn't rehab his broken leg in time for the Sochi Olympics, so, hey, come aboard, player who really wasn't wanted!)

St. Louis has to feel like a guy who proposed to the love of his life and was turned down with extreme prejudice. After four years of seeing how happy she has been and the success she had, he decided to ask for her hand again, only to be shot down again. He had picked up the pieces of his life and moved on, when Team Canada comes running back at the last minute, like something out of a movie where a person runs through the airport to stop someone from getting on a plane and says they should be together.

It's sort of romantic, but really, St. Louis has to know he was an absolute last resort here.

After Yzerman snubbed St. Louis four years ago and again in January, St. Louis likely doesn't care how he made the roster.

Stamkos did everything he could to come back as quickly as possible from a broken leg suffered Nov. 11, but he had to withdraw from the Olympics on Wednesday when he learned the bone had not healed enough to allow for full contact.

St. Louis, who will turn 39 after this season, is enjoying another incredible campaign in 2013-14. The right wing has 25 goals and 54 points in 56 games and has been outstanding since the Team Canada roster announcement Jan. 7, delivering seven goals and 15 points in 14 games.

The decision for Yzerman likely came down to St. Louis and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, who has six goals and 17 points in 15 games since he was left off the roster. But the fact that Giroux's natural position is center while St. Louis is a right wing probably made a difference for Yzerman.

The question now becomes how will coach Mike Babcock deploy St. Louis. It was believed that Canada's top line would feature Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Stamkos, so if St. Louis replaces Stamkos, that would give that line three left-handed shots. Some have said that could cause an issue, although Crosby has centered Kunitz and the lefty shooting Pascal Dupuis at times with the Penguins.

If that's really a problem, Canada doesn't have any problems with this replacement. Canada has problems the way rich people have problems when their Jaguar is out of gas or their housekeeper calls out sick.

St. Louis is an MVP, a Stanley Cup winner and has the speed and smarts to excel in any situation. He proved in his most recent stint on larger European ice that he can still be a dominant force. At the 2009 World Championships in Switzerland, he led the tournament in scoring with four goals and 15 points in nine games.

In a way, this move makes Team Canada a more formidable opponent. If Stamkos had played, he likely would not have been anywhere near 100 percent physically or with his timing and endurance after three months out of the Lightning lineup. Instead, Team Canada adds one of the best players in the world who has been red-hot for a month and has something to prove in Sochi.

It took four years and an unfortunate injury to a superstar, but Yzerman finally got it right with St. Louis.


Dave Lozo covers the NHL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveLozo.