Interesting stuff indeed, especially for people (like me) who love Olympic/International hockey. With that in mind, I figured I would re-post something I did during the Stanley Cup Finals. It was mostly a project cultivated out of boredom one night, but over the course of the playoffs once Washington was out I came up with my own projections for all seven of the important hockey-playing nations (and you’ll even get some line combinations as a bonus).
Putting them on here in May probably wasn’t the best timing for maximum viewership, so here is the redux. I think the Canadian and American rosters are pretty similar. The one guy that sticks out on my roster for Canada is Jordan Staal. He was GOING to be one of the league’s top shutdown centers by 2010, but now it looks like he is going to be Evgeni Malkin’s or Sidney Crosby’s sidekick since half the roster left town this summer. I’d probably just replace him with his brother Eric, who was the final cut from my team anyway. Or maybe Steven Stamkos.
So without futher ado…
A LOOK TOWARD VANCOUVER
As promised, here is an educated guess at what the rosters might look like for the 2010 Winter Olympics for the top seven countries (with a bonus eighth team at the end). Obviously there is another 1½ seasons between now and then. Players could emerge/fall apart, so there is some projection involved here. To me, there are few events in sports better than the hockey at the Olympics. If the NHL could continue some of the momentum it is creating with better TV ratings in this Cup final, I think these Olympics could be a great platform for elevating the sport. It should be a chance for guys like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane to lead their countries with the world watching. For the record, there are eight current Washington Capitals properties on this list.
D Chris Pronger-Brian Campbell
Dion Phaneuf-Mike Green
Brent Seabrook-Jay Bouwmeester
Dany Heatley-Sidney Crosby-Jarome Iginla
Rick Nash-Vincent Lecavalier-Ryan Getzlaf
Brendan Morrow-Joe Thornton-Shane Doan
Jonathan Toews-Jordan Staal-Mike Richards
Jason Spezza-Brad Richards
Analysis: This is obviously like trying to pick an all-star team. There are going to be plenty of great players left out. The most controversial guy here is probably Jordan Staal instead of say, his older brother Eric or a national team regular like Ryan Smyth. This is a projection, and it says here Staal could be the top shutdown center in the league by 2010. Canada doesn’t always take the 12 most-skilled players. As always, the Canadians should be considered the favorite, especially on home ice.
Sergei Gonchar-Andrei Markov
Anton Volchenkov-Fedor Tyutin
Dmitri Kalinin-Dennis Grebeshkov
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin-Alex Kovalev
Ilya Kovalchuk-Pavel Datsyuk-Alexander Radulov
Alexander Semin-Alexei Yashin-Nikolai Zherdev
Alexander Frolov-Sergei Fedorov-Alexei Morozov
Maxim Afinogenov-Sergei Mozyakin
Analysis: Take another look at those top two lines. That is frightening. The Russians are likely to be a little light on defense (not sure if Zubov will still be playing, but this event could be the swan song for a few guys), but Nabokov and the ridiculous talent up front should help mask that. Clearly a favorite to medal and a top challenger to Canada, if not the overall favorite. Clearly the Russians have shown they can handle the Canadians on their home soil.
Nicklas Lidstrom-Niklas Kronwall
Niclas Havelid-Tobias Enstrom
Alex Edler-Mattias Ohlund
Henrik Zetterberg-Nicklas Backstrom-Daniel Alfredsson
Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Loui Eriksson
Johan Franzen-Mats Sundin-Tomas Holmstrom
Fabian Brunnstrom-Samuel Pahlsson-Kristian Huselius
Patrik Berglund-Tony Martensson
Analysis: Sweden has had plenty of success in international tournaments recently and should be considered a favorite to medal in Vancouver. It is weird to see the differences between Sweden and the Czech Republic – the Swedes have a bountiful number of centers to choose from while the Czechs are loaded on the wing but thin up the middle. Notice those defense pairings (all three are teammates) weren’t by accident. After watching Hedman at the WJC this year, he certainly looks like the real deal.
Mike Komisarek-Erik Johnson
Ryan Whitney- Paul Martin
Tom Gilbert-Jack Johnson
Zach Parise-Scott Gomez-Christopher Higgins
Peter Mueller-Patrick Kane-Dustin Brown
Ryan Malone- Paul Stastny -Jason Pominville
R.J. Umberger-Chris Drury-Phil Kessel
Erik Cole-Matt Cullen
Analysis: The recent wave of American kids in the NHL draft will start to show up on this team, but would be more prevalent in 2014 (though NHL players may not play in those games). Still, the changing of the guard that started with the past two world championships will be complete by 2010. Gone will be the names that have dominated USA hockey for more than a decade. There will be plenty of youth on this team, which hasn’t led to medals the past two years but could still make the Americans dangerous.
Tomas Kaberle-Michal Rozsival
Marek Zidlicky-Rostislav Klesla
Jaroslav Spacek-Zbynek Michalek
Tomas Plekanec-Patrick Elias-Petr Sykora
Ales Hemsky-Martin Straka-Jaromir Jagr
Milan Hejduk-Vinny Prospal-Milan Michalek
Martin Havlat -Jiri Hudler-Martin Erat
Ales Kotalik-Jakub Voracek
Analysis: The Czechs are, much like the Americans, at a bit of a crossroads. Guys like Dominik Hasek and Jaromir Jagr have carried the country’s entries for years, but it will be time for new heroes to emerge. For this tournament, the Czechs appear to be a solid team that would probably need to spring an upset in the quarterfinals to play for a medal. As I mentioned before, they are thin at center. Voracek is a guy who could move up this depth chart pretty easily.
Kimmo Timonen-Joni Pitkanen
Toni Lydman-Sami Salo
Lasse Kukkonen-Sami Lepisto
Osi VaanenenView Entire Story