Hey guys! Macke here again. Here is Part II of my Team Canada preview! Today we take a closer look at defense and goal.
FIRST LINE- THE SHUT DOWN PAIR
Thomas Hickey and Colten Teubert.
This is going to be a defensive pair that we will be counting on throughout the whole tournament. Captain Thomas Hickey is a reliable force on the blueline and plays on the powerplay as well. When Hickey was taken 4th overall in 2007, it was seen as a really off-the-board pick, leaving last year’s captain Karl Alzner on the table for the Capitals and the 5th pick. But now, it really doesn’t seem odd at all- Hickey has developed into one of the finest defensemen not in the NHL. The Kings are obviously stocking up on fantastic young defensemen, with Hickey, Jack Johnson, Wayne Simmonds (from last year’s Team Canada), and guess who, Colten Teubert. Teubert isn’t going to be the guy putting up points, but neither was Luke Schenn last year. He’s there to provide a big, gritty, fierce, competitive presence. He’s a stay-at-home guy and you’ll see him against high-skilled players like Nikita Filatov.
SECOND LINE- THE TWO TOWERS
Tyler Myers and Keith Aulie.
This is the big line. I say ‘big’ quite literally- the average size of this line is 6’6.5” and 214 pounds. Another pair of WHL kids, Myers and Aulie are basically the shutdown pair #2. Tyler Myers is one of the best skaters I’ve ever seen, and at 6’7” that is definitely impressive. He moves like he’s 5’10”. Aulie was named Captain of WHL Brandon Wheat Kings this year (with my favourite boy Brayden Schenn as one of his A’s) and is one of 6 players who Captains their junior teams. He’s capable of putting up a few points but again the focus for him will be as a shut-down guy.
THIRD LINE- THE OFFENSE
PK Subban and Cody Goloubef.
PK is one of four returning players on the team this year, and he is an offensive force. (What you thought Canada was all shut-down D?) He was almost point-per-game in the OHL (Belleville Bulls) before he left for camp, and last year he had 56 points in 68 games. He might need to develop a little more defensively before he makes the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge, but for now he can dominate junior. Sometimes you forget that he’s a defenseman because he plays so deep- you could call him a rover or a midfield, even. He also has a rocket from the point that has been clocked at over 100mph.
You’ll forgive me if I don’t know too much about Cody. He’s the only player from the NCAA on Team Canada this year, and I can honestly say that I don’t follow college hockey. But from what I’ve seen so far, he has great vision for offense, but is quite responsible defensively as well. He’s an all-around defenseman who will be able to counter and compliment Subban’s flair.
FOURTH LINE- THE EXTRAS
Ryan Ellis and Alex Pietrangelo.
This year, Canada opted to go with only 12 forwards and 8 defenseman, something unheard of in Canadian World Juniors history. Dan Ellis was the reason for this decision. He’s the youngest player on the team this year, one of three draft eligible players, one of which is Tavares. Ellis was brought in as a powerplay specialist, and probably won’t see that much time at even strength, but he doesn’t need it. This kid is phenomenal in the way that he reads plays (for evidence watch Tavares’ FIRST goal against Slovakia) and is an elite offensive defenseman in the OHL. When he left his junior team to play for Canada, he was 4th in Ontario league scoring. As a defenseman.
Pietrangelo (Puh-tran-gel-oh) got an 8 game tryout with the St. Louis Blues this year and didn’t look too out of place (though if you read an earlier report, I thought it was a good idea he was sent back to junior). He is extremely talented offensively and will get most of his ice time on the powerplay, but as the tournament goes on I imagine he’ll get some more time at 5-on-5.
DUSTIN TOKARSKITokarski could probably emerge as the #1 as the tournament goes on. Up until now he’s been incredibly underrated, but this tournament should help him gain a little bit of the spotlight. He plays his best under pressure.
Chet was the highest goalie drafted this year, going 18th to Nashville. He was given the near-impossible task of following wonderboy Carey Price as the starting goaltender for the Tri-City Americans, and responded to it by being named the CHL’s top goaltender in 07-08.
Enjoy the tournament!
GO CANADA GO