1st line: Nash-Crosby-Stamkos
2nd line: Tavares-Toews-Giroux
3rd line: Couture-Getzlaf-Perry
4th line: E. Staal-Bergeron-St. Louis
First 3 out: M. Richards, Hall, Thornton
1st pairing: Subban/Keith
2nd pairing: Doughty/Weber
3rd pairing: Letang/Boyle
First 2 out: Seabrook, Pietrangelo
Back-ups: Crawford, Luongo
- Looking at the forwards, the top three lines should essentially be locks for roster spots. After a stellar regular season and playoffs last year, Couture seems to be a lock with the other eight.
- The fourth line definitely includes players on the cusp. Staal is a veteran that contributed on their 2006 team and again on the 2010 gold-winning team, but his best years may be past him. I do not see them passing on St. Louis despite his age. Clearly, he showed last season that he still has it. Any hockey fan who watched Boston this past postseason could see how valuable Bergeron is on any team. He is a Selke winner who can play any game situation.
- I do not see M. Richards making it through this year. He does all the little things a team needs, but I feel Bergeron can fill this role just as well. The team has too much star power and depth that Richards’ value is outweighed. I could see Hall stealing a spot after a breakout season and adding more youth to the team in place of a veteran like Staal. In addition, it seems Thornton’s era on this team is in past, it is time to bring in the younger guns and allow them to shine.
- On the blue line, I see the top five defensemen set in stone. There seems to be too much talent between Subban, Keith, Weber, Doughty and Letang to leave anyone out of the mix.
- The last spot on the blue line is the question mark. It is a complete tossup between Boyle, Seabrook, and Pietrangelo. I chose Boyle because I think he still has his game, despite his age. In addition, he brings leadership to this young and talented team. Seabrook could easily fit in too because of his playing style. In addition, he and Keith would be a great pairing like on the Blackhawks. After a breakout season, Pietrangelo could end up taking this last spot. The youngster is highly talented and could add talent to an already great defensive core.
- In net, Smith and Holtby seem to be the odd men out. With Price, Luongo, and Crawford in the mix, I could see any of the three starting. I put Price in the starting slot because I believe he will prevail. Whichever goalie has a hot first half of next season should get the nod.
- I was a little surprised to see Tyler Seguin left out of the mix. Despite his recent troubles and departure from Boston, I believe he could be a great fit into the forwards. I foresee him getting quickly back on track in Dallas.
- Any way Steve Yzerman and his crew select this team, they should be the best on paper. It will be interesting to see if they can find the right chemistry to win another gold medal in Sochi next winter.
- Fans of all countries and NHL teams, leave your comments and let me know what you think.