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Team Canada roster projections

Illustration by Sam Ho

Here's my third edition of Team Canada's World Cup roster projections. Keep in mind that in real life, all teams must submit their original 16 names by the March 2 deadline, with the balance of the 23-man roster to be named by June 1.

Forwards

Marchand, Giroux and Duchene are new entries, and it's with great difficulty that I take off Ryan O'Reilly, Tyler Toffoli and Ryan Getzlaf from the last list. My head wants to explode when I do this exercise. Getzlaf is an important Team Canada veteran of two Olympics, and while his first half of this season for the Anaheim Ducks was brutal, he has been way better of late. O'Reilly might still make this team, but he hasn't been as consistent lately for the Buffalo Sabres. Toffoli's consistent goal production for the Los Angeles Kings is really hard to overlook, so I really struggled taking him off the list.

Duchene's speed is key on the roster; if there's anything to worry about with so much collective talent, it might be having enough natural speed. So I like having Duchene's lightning-fast skating on the team. Giroux's creative offensive abilities, even if he has to play wing, is an important addition, especially on the power play. Marchand's 25 goals and two-way game complement Toews and Carter perfectly on that line. I picked Marchand over O'Reilly, really. Still, let's not kid ourselves, O'Reilly, the resurgent Getzlaf and the goal scorer Toffoli could easily find themselves back on this squad for real.

Brendan Gallagher, Mark Stone and veteran Joe Thornton are other guys who deserve to be in this conversation.

Defensemen

Again, the choices drive me crazy, especially on the right side, where I can't find room for 2014 Olympic gold medalist Alex Pietrangelo or the incredible Brent Burns or the silky smooth Kris Letang. I just love the season Seabrook is having, and let's remember the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be on NHL-size ice, so that plays to his advantage.

My guess is with Weber and Doughty as right-side locks, it comes down to selecting two from Subban, Seabrook and Pietrangelo. On the left side, I replaced Jake Muzzin with Vlasic, a holdover from the 2014 Olympics who has had a terrific season.

Goaltenders

It was a tough call not putting veteran Roberto Luongo on here, given the season he's having, but how do you argue with these three? Crawford could easily start, never mind ranking No. 3. Marc-Andre Fleury also deserves mention here, but I think Price, Holtby and Crawford is without argument.

What will be interesting to see is whether Price still feels comfortable playing in the September tournament if he's worried about his season-long injury. There's no question, though, that Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong still plans to name Price on March 2, as long as the goalie doesn't object.