Yesterday we took a look at Jamie Benn's push for Olympic consideration. Today, we're going to look at the other side of the Dallas Stars' hot offensive duo to see how he could -- and could not -- fit into that conversation.
As Erin mentioned yesterday, there are probably only three for-sure locks for Team Canada, barring any major injuries: Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and John Tavares. So Canada is looking to fill out possibly 12 more forwards for the trip to Sochi.
There are a few forwards invited to orientation camp that are not doing well so far this NHL season and could, therefore, potentially be supplanted: Claude Giroux, Brad Marchand, Eric Staal and Jordan Staal chief among them.
Making some assumptions based on current play and camp invitees, here's the list of the 19 forwards that we are considering as likely in contention for those last 12 spots, in alphabetical order (stats updated through Tuesday night's play):
|Name||Team||Position||GP||Goals||Assists||Points||+/-||Shot %||Corsi Rel|
|Jeff Carter||Los Angeles||C/RW||14||5||4||9||-2||8.8||2.4|
|Logan Couture||San Jose||C||21||8||12||20||+6||10.4||3.4|
|Patrick Marleau||San Jose||C/LW||21||10||10||20||+5||13.7||5.5|
|Rick Nash||New York Rangers||LW/RW||3||0||3||3||0||0||2.9|
|Mike Richards||Los Angeles||C||21||5||13||18||Even||9.8||9.8|
|Martin St. Louis||Tampa Bay||RW||20||8||12||20||+9||17.4||-2.1|
|Steven Stamkos||Tampa Bay||RW||17||14||9||23||+11||23.3||2.0|
|Joe Thornton||San Jose||C||21||2||20||22||+8||7.1||21.9
The big thing about Team Canada is their logjam at the center position. There are some very potent pivots for Team Canada on this list, and because there's so many talented ones, some will be asked to flip to wing. This is where Seguin may have the best opportunity to make Team Canada. He played his first three seasons in Boston on the right wing, and this is only his first season as center (and he most definitely won't be making the team as a center with his current faceoff ability.) Canada's right wing situation seems the most clouded right now due to injuries.
Steven Stamkos is out with a broken tibia. Reports have come out and said he'll be back in January and will still make Team Canada, but if his conditioning isn't there after that much time off or if he suffers any kind of setback in rehabilitation, his chances become slimmer of going to Sochi. Rick Nash returned last night from a concussion, so it's unclear how he would be doing if he hadn't missed time because of that -- or how he will recover from it. Jeff Carter isn't exactly putting up points at a pace that makes you say "wow" either.
Another thing that could work in Seguin's favor is that with so little ramp up time before play begins, chemistry like the one Jamie Benn and Seguin have together could be very valuable come February. If they continue lighting the lamp together and maintain their positions as some of the top scorers in the league, it would be very difficult for Team Canada not to at least consider taking the dynamic duo's talent and seeing if it could replicate on international ice for some depth scoring in Sochi.
The biggest knock against Seguin could be his lack of international play for Team Canada at the lower levels. He didn't make Team Canada at the U20 World Championships. His only recent international experience was during last year's lockout when he played in the Swiss league. He put up 25g, 15a, 40 points in 29 games there, which would lead me to believe his style wouldn't be that out of place on the bigger ice. After watching him skate for 20 games in Dallas now, I think he has the wheels to fit right in on Team Canada's roster.
There's a lot he has to do to make it, though. There are some big names in front of him that are much more experienced that Team Canada may choose over Seguin, even if their numbers aren't good right now. Plenty of guys could heat up at the right time to force their way into the conversation. If there's any decrease in production he could talk his way right out of the conversation. But if he can continue strong through December, he'll at least make the decisions hard for Canada come January when the roster is set.