Commentary

2014 Team Canada breakdown

Updated: January 7, 2014, 4:01 PM ET
By Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

Here's a look at the 25-man roster named by Team Canada.

Goaltenders

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Scott Burnside: Price has been the front-runner to be the starter in Sochi for some time now. Should the fact that he's never led his team on a long playoff run be a concern for this first-time Olympian? Time will tell.

Pierre LeBrun: A Team Canada source says it's not determined yet whether it'll be Price or Luongo as the No. 1 goalie, saying the next month will help decide that. Price has had a stellar opening half of the NHL season and his experience in hockey-mad Montreal gave Team Canada confidence he can handle the pressure.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Scott Burnside: Luongo, has, of course, won on the big Olympic stage, taking over for Martin Brodeur as Canada's starter in Vancouver and defeating the U.S. in overtime in the gold-medal game. But he also famously melted down in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals and has more recently been battling a groin injury and is out of action again with a lower-body injury, although that injury isn't believed to be serious.

Pierre LeBrun: The 2010 gold-medal winning netminder had bounced back strongly this year after losing his No. 1 job in Vancouver last year, and in particular he has been dynamite over the past month. His ankle injury doesn't appear to be too serious. Will give Price a push for the No. 1 job.

Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes
Scott Burnside: Have to believe Smith will head to Sochi as the team's third netminder, but he's made this team because he was stellar for the Coyotes during their run to the 2012 Western Conference final. Even if he never dresses, as is usually the case for goalies in this situation, he'll be a great addition to the team given his upbeat personality.

Pierre LeBrun: There were some members of the management staff who weren't sold. Some like Corey Crawford instead, others Marc-Andre Fleury. But Smith wins out as expected all along. He's the clear No. 3 netminder at this point and a solid personality Team Canada believes can handle not dressing in Russia.

Defense

Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Scott Burnside: Keith had a terrific Olympic tournament in Vancouver and is having another Norris Trophy-type season in Chicago this year. He'll play on the team's top pairing possibly with Shea Weber or Drew Doughty and will help anchor the Canadian power play.

Pierre LeBrun: He's the runaway leader right now as the Norris Trophy winner so far this season, piling up the points while also playing stellar defense. His superb skating ability will just be even more accentuated on the larger international ice surface.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Scott Burnside: Another veteran of Canada's gold-medal team, Weber will likely see time against opposing teams' top forward units and brings that rare blend of nastiness and high-end skill. A key component for the Canadians if they hope to repeat.

Pierre LeBrun: His crushing hit on Alex Ovechkin in the 2010 Olympic quarterfinals is all you have to remember. It completely set the tone to that game. With a more talented cast around him in Sochi than he's used to having in Nashville, look for people to be reminded why Weber is considered by some as the best defenseman in the NHL.

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Scott Burnside: Doughty was a kid when he was named to the Canadian team in '10, but by the end of the tournament, he was one of the best defensemen on the ice regardless of nationality. He does it all for the Kings and will be counted on to do it all for Canada as a top-four defender.

Pierre LeBrun: His play in Vancouver 2010 as a kid blew people away. Now he returns having won a Stanley Cup since then. The big ice is perfect for his superb skating ability. Going to be a major cog on the team.

Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues
Scott Burnside: Bouwmeester is a former top draft pick who has seen his career revitalized since coming over to St. Louis in a trade with Calgary at the deadline last season. The former Olympian (2006) can log lots of minutes and will likely play with teammate Alex Pietrangelo as a second or third pairing.

Pierre LeBrun: It's funny how people were surprised last August when many of us had Bouwmeester as a lock for Canada. It was never in doubt. Team Canada had him penciled on the left side last summer, and it never changed. In fact, he has played maybe the best hockey of his career this season. His smooth skating ability will be giant on the big ice.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
Scott Burnside: The youngster is fulfilling the vast promise that led the Blues to select him fourth overall in 2008. Both he and Bouwmeester skate and pass exceptionally well and will be counted on to get to the puck smoothly to the Canadians' skilled forward corps.

Pierre LeBrun: Arguably the most complete defenseman in the NHL in my opinion. Highly intelligent and impactful at both ends of the ice. Team Canada will trust him in any situation of the game.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks
Scott Burnside: Vlasic's maturity has led to more and more responsibility in San Jose and a place on Canada's Olympic team. Could see Vlasic lining up with Drew Doughty. Vlasic would provide a nice counterbalance to Doughty's high-end offensive skills or with Weber as a great shutdown pair.

Pierre LeBrun: Quiet and effective player who simply doesn't make many mistakes, and that's the kind of calming influence Team Canada wanted to add as an ingredient here. A guy you can trust to protect a late-game lead.

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
Scott Burnside: Although he'll likely start as the team's seventh defenseman, it was always hard to imagine that Canada would ice a team in Sochi without the defending Norris Trophy winner. Suffice it to say, he'll be on a short leash when the tournament starts.

Pierre LeBrun: Still to the end, he didn't garner unanimous agreement within the Team Canada brass, but there are few more dynamic blueliners in the world, despite the odd defensive gaffe. If the Canadians need a goal, he'll get more ice time; if they're defending a lead he'll likely barely play.

Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks
Scott Burnside: Hamhuis has enjoyed a strong couple of months, and his versatility and reliable play nudged him ahead of other candidates such as Dan Boyle, Mark Giordano and Brent Seabrook.

Pierre LeBrun: His international experience for Canada at the past world championships was a big factor. Like Vlasic, Hamhuis calms the game down with effective puck decisions. Safe pick.

Forwards

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Scott Burnside: What needs to be said about the man who will likely be named captain of the Canadian team? Best player in the world and the man who sent Canada into Olympic euphoria four years ago.

Pierre LeBrun: The man who scored the Golden Goal in 2010 now hopes to do it again on enemy soil in Russia, something that appeals to Crosby greatly as a student of hockey history and the tales of the 1972 Summit Series.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Scott Burnside: If, for some reason, the decision is made not to make Crosby captain, it would undoubtedly go to Toews, the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Pierre LeBrun: Named top forward of the 2010 Olympic tournament with tremendous two-way game, he'll be counted on again to be Canada's top shutdown stud while also being counted on offensively.

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Scott Burnside: It will be interesting to see how Mike Babcock deploys his forward group, but we're guessing Getzlaf, who is having an MVP-type season in Anaheim, will center the team's second forward line likely with Ducks teammate Corey Perry on his right side.

Pierre LeBrun: Team Canada had concerns about Getzlaf on the bigger ice, but he became a no-brainer about a month into the season as he demonstrated night in and night out that he was once again among the world's top players with a Hart-worthy half season.

Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Scott Burnside: Perry and Getzlaf are the offensive catalysts to what has been a stellar first half to the NHL season for Anaheim, where the Ducks are challenging Chicago for first overall status in the Western Conference and overall league lead. Perry had a solid tournament in Vancouver and will see some power-play time in Sochi.

Pierre LeBrun: Like Getzlaf, Perry is on fire in Anaheim this season, and his play with Getzlaf gives Team Canada a star-studded pairing it can count on early while hoping to forge chemistry elsewhere in the lineup.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Scott Burnside: Not a surprise that Stamkos was named to the squad, even though he broke his tibia Nov. 11 and his return to action is uncertain. The dilemma for the selection group is if Stamkos comes back to action prior to the tournament and isn't at full strength. Do they count on the sniper to withdraw on his own accord to make way for a player who's 100 percent? Tough call.

Pierre LeBrun: When he broke his leg Nov. 11, I simply didn't believe there was any chance he could play in Sochi. His amazing recovering ability simply blows my mind. He's still not a certainty, but who would be against him now? The best goal scorer on the team if he can make it.

John Tavares, New York Islanders
Scott Burnside: The Canadians are so embarrassingly deep at center that Tavares could be one of a handful of natural centers who will move to the wing in this tournament, perhaps playing alongside Crosby on the right side.

Pierre LeBrun: Many people view Tavares as a possibility to move to the wing, but a Team Canada source says they view him as a center in their lineup projections. Why move around a guy who once again is challenging for the NHL scoring lead and making himself a Hart candidate?

Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche
Scott Burnside: Duchene is one of the catalysts to the surprising first-half performance of the Colorado Avalanche, and while his production may have fallen off a bit, he's still a point-a-game guy and a dynamic offensive force. Will battle Jamie Benn for ice time on the left side, assuming Chris Kunitz lines up with Crosby.

Pierre LeBrun: Speed, speed, speed. If you want to look at the one of the great examples of why Team Canada is sensitive to the requirements of big ice, it's Duchene, whose blazing speed made him a must addition.

Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins
Scott Burnside: So much debate about Kunitz and his place on the team, but executive director Steve Yzerman insisted that the group felt Kunitz's play earned him a spot on its own. Of course, playing with Crosby, as he has for the past few years, doesn't hurt.

Pierre LeBrun: Absolutely love this choice. He wasn't that high on Team Canada's list leaving camp in August, but he forced its hand with a spectacular opening half to the season, proving beyond doubt that he's more than just Crosby's sidekick. Team Canada believes he fits on any of their four lines, not just paying with No. 87.

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Scott Burnside: We were a bit surprised four years ago when Bergeron was named to the Canadian roster, but the former Frank J. Selke Trophy winner as the NHL's best two-way forward was full value for his inclusion and will take important faceoffs and be counted on to help kill penalties in his second go-round as an Olympian.

Pierre LeBrun: It's interesting, but he wasn't the slam dunk everyone perhaps thought he was. Some concern over his foot speed on the big ice. But in the end, Bergeron is the right choice to keep on the roster as the fifth center, once again a go-to guy for late-game assignments, big faceoffs and penalty-killing duty.

Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks
Scott Burnside: Sharp has been playing with Toews for some time and absolutely lighting it up and was second in goals scored in the league as of the team's announcement. Sharp's attraction is that he can play all over the place -- and he's a winner. Terrific addition to this squad.

Pierre LeBrun: Would have been an awful case of injustice had Sharp not made this team. What else can this guy do? A two-time Cup champion and clutch in both those spring tournaments, he's had a monster year, and his versatility of being able to play either wing makes him a must addition.

Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Scott Burnside: Benn will play the left side and is the only player not invited to Canada's orientation camp in August to make this team.

Pierre LeBrun: Steve Yzerman openly suggested Tuesday that it was probably a mistake he didn't invite Benn to the summer camp. Or was it? Benn obviously used it as motivation and is playing the best hockey of his career. A physical, offensively gifted left winger who can play on any line. A great choice.

Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Scott Burnside: Have to admit, we were a bit surprised that Yzerman went back to Nash in spite of his soft first half with the Rangers, especially with Claude Giroux and Martin St. Louis both playing at a higher level. But Nash came up big in Vancouver, and the expectation is that he'll elevate his game in Sochi.

Pierre LeBrun: Truth be told, Team Canada certainly debated his inclusion right up to the 11th hour. He simply hasn't been that good this season. But his incredible performance in clutch games in 2010 at the Olympics, I think, got him back on.

Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings
Scott Burnside: Perhaps the most shocking pick of the group, not because Carter (15 goals, 26 points) isn't an elite player, but that he didn't seem to be on anyone's radar (except Yzerman's obviously). Carter can play different spots and do lots of different things though. Nice reward for a guy who was considered the next in line for a roster spot in Vancouver.

Pierre LeBrun: Seems as though Yzerman always regretted not putting Carter on the 2010 team, despite winning gold. I think that has always stayed in the back of Yzerman's mind. But mostly, Carter's skating ability on the big ice was key here.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Scott Burnside: Our guess is that if Marleau's teammate Logan Couture doesn't have to undergo surgery for a nagging hand injury, Marleau doesn't make this team. But he is a veteran of 2010 and a dependable forward with solid offensive skills.

Pierre LeBrun: Did we mention big ice? No question that's a major reason Marleau made the team but also his experience in international hockey for Canada. There's a trust factor here in the veteran Marleau, especially on such a young team.

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun cover the NHL for ESPN.com.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.