Michael Cammalleri: Why Canada Is Wrong To Overlook the Canadiens Forward

Bradley KarpCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2009

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 10:  Mike Cammalleri #13 of the Montreal Canadiens and former team mate Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Calgary Flames exchange words during the NHL game on November 10, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Michael Cammalleri may not be the tallest player in the NHL, measuring in at just 5'9" and 182 pounds, so it may be easy to "overlook" him, but you cannot miss his statistics.

The Olympics are just 62 days away and still there is no talk of Cammalleri on the Canadian Olympic team.

The "experts" you watch on TV who repeatedly move names up and down the depth chart based on "merit" still have failed to mention Mike Cammalleri.

Which is strange since, Cammalleri has 17 goals this season, tying him for fourth among Canadians, along with Steven Stamkos and former teammate Jarome Iginla, who have both been in the Olympic "mix," according to those same experts.

His goal total is behind only Dustin Penner, Sidney Crosby, and Dany Heatley. Although he has one goal over Rick Nash and more than five over Brenden Morrow, Jeff Carter, and almost 10 more than Patrick Sharp and teammate Jonathan Toews.

He also finished in the top five in Canadian goal-scoring last season and is the only player still in the top five, along with Heatley.

Actually, Cammalleri is the third-highest-scoring left winger in the NHL. He sits just behind Heatley and Alexander Ovechkin, who each have 20 goals, making Cammalleri Canada's second-highest-scoring left winger.

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Which is something the 2010 Olympic team will need, as it is loaded with top-notch play-makers and not enough pure scorers. Having all those passers is nice, but who will put the puck in the net? Cammalleri is converting on 15.7 percent of his shots, leaving him in sixth of all Olmypic-hopeful Canadians.

Not only is he the third-highest goal scorer of all Canadians, he is also tied for seventh in the entire league.

With names like Stamkos, Sharp, Toews, and Jordan Staal all floating around as Olympic hopefuls, Cammy should have a step up on them with both his stats and work ethic.

Cammalleri is a non-stop, high-energy player who is willing to stand in front of the net. He is a little big man (as seen in photo above at right) who puts his team first and can play defensive hockey.

He is currently sporting a plus-9 rating, putting him behind only Crosby when looking strictly at Olympic hopefuls.

His offensive prowess and defensive abilities leave Cammalleri well ahead of Stamkos, St. Louis, and Neal as a well-rounded hockey player.

Cammalleri is also quickly becoming the fan favorite to wear the "C" for the Canadiens; his leadership in the room and his ease in front of the press would serve him well in the pressure of Olympics in Canada.

Cammalleri should be well ahead of many Canadian-born players who are being picked by the "experts" to be heading to Vancouver in February.

Hopefully Cammy's numbers and international experience (four world hockey championships) will lead him to wearing a Team Canada jersey in Vancouver.