First of all, I want to say a huge congratulations to Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Michael Frolik who will be playing in the World Cup Of Hockey! Michael Frolik will represent the Czech Republic while Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau will represent North America. Good luck, guys!
As happy as I am for those who made the initial rosters, I also see a few snubs that need to be discussed. Because the Flames have two more-than-capable defensemen waiting in the wings, I was shocked to see that not one was picked for the initial Team Canada roster. While most of Team Canada's roster made me excited for the upcoming tournament, one part stuck out as questionable.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a good hockey player. He's got a total of 8 goals and 29 assists this season in 59 games. 37 points is good for an offensive-defenseman. I like that Vlasic is a relatively consistent player and that he's dependable. He's skilled and can be integral part of a teams structure. But, I don't think he's the right fit for this Team Canada roster. Instead, there are other players that I would choose to put in place of Vlasic.
Mark Giordano is a better choice than Vlasic because he makes an immediate impact. His 15 goals and 23 assists should be enough to make Team Canada. But Giordano has something else that Team Canada should find valuable. With his veteran experience (not to mention is experience as captain of the Calgary Flames), Giordano has the kind of personality that a team needs to dig them out of a hole should they ever find themselves in one. He's a good leader and makes an impact during the most important moments.
T.J. Brodie would be a better option than Vlasic based purely on numbers alone. With 4 goals and 36 assists (40 points), he may not be front and center, but his ability to be in the right position at the right time has helped his plus-13 record this season. He may not make a statement like Gio does, but he gets the job done in his signature subtle way. He sneaks into the spaces that the opposition has forgotten about and he has developed better than most defensemen on the Flames team in his almost 6 seasons in Calgary. He may not be outspoken or a character player, but his knowledge for the game shines through his play. He's a thinker and he knows how to handle a puck as well as the opposition. He's consistent and rarely has a bad game.
And how was P.K. Subban left off the Team Canada roster? This was a total shock to me. I will admit, I'm not a Montreal Canadiens fan - and probably never will be - but when a player has talent, it cannot be denied. So is the case of Subban. His meagre 5 goals is nothing compared to his 43 assists, and he makes a statement in each game. He's one of those guys you hate playing against, but you'd undoubtedly pick him to play for your team. He's a character player with a big personality that gets under the skin of his opponent. He can draw penalties and he gives 100% every game. He makes the game interesting and knows exactly how to play the mental game as well as the physical game.
Don't get me wrong, I like Vlasic, and I think he's a good player for the San Jose Sharks, but I just don't think he'd be my first choice to defend the blue line on Team Canada.
Hopefully by June, the NHL will consider what I've said about Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and even P.K. Subban. Final rosters come out then and I really hope to see at least one more Flames player on the list for Team Canada.