Hockey Canada was dealt a serious blow yesterday when the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Steven Stamkos would participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Now they must scramble to name a replacement.
Now, you can’t simply replace a player the caliber of Stamkos. There is no way anyone can match the possible offensive output of Stamkos, even in such a short tournament. They will just have to hope that whoever they bring can replace at least some of that offense.
Who will Hockey Canada name to the team? Sportnet’s Arash Madani tweeted this out early this morning.
Hockey Canada's Brad Pascall says a replacement for Steve Stamkos will be announced in the next 48 hours.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) February 6, 2014
If that’s the case, players have about one more game to strut their stuff in an effort to sway the decision in their favor. Players that have been talked about the most are the Philadelphia Flyers‘ Claude Giroux, the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ James Neal and even the Carolina Hurricanes‘ Eric Staal.
All of those players would be great additions to Team Canada, but the fact that Stamkos’ teammate Martin St. Louis isn’t often grouped with those players is a travesty. If you look at the stats, since the 2010 Olympics Stamkos may have the most goals, but St. Louis has the most points in that time frame. Keep in mind he is above players like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
With the Olympics on our doorstep, it won’t be long until a replacement is named. Whoever it is, they will have a lot of pressure on them, perhaps more than any other Olympian on Team Canada.