Jarome Iginla representing Team Canada at the Olympics?
It could happen.
With the NHL opting out of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, federations are moving to plan B. If he doesn’t find an NHL team soon, Iginla could be part of that plan.
The 40-year-old Flames legend is without an NHL contract for next season, and could be forced to retire or attempt to crack a roster as a training camp tryout. Either way, it’s beginning to look increasingly doubtful that he will find a home for next year.
He’d like to end his career with a Stanley Cup ring, but if contenders aren’t interested in his services, then what? A return to Calgary for what is likely his final season makes a lot of sense, but if the Flames aren’t interested, why not take a run at another Olympic gold medal?
Hockey Canada revealed the start of their plan on Tuesday, announcing Sean Burke and Martin Brodeur will head up the management team, with former Canucks bench boss Willie Desjardins being brought on as head coach.
With NHLers no longer an option, Hockey Canada will turn to Canadians playing overseas and perhaps in the AHL, to fill out their roster. But Burke also admitted that management will consider unsigned NHL players – like Iginla – for the team.
Iginla has represented Canada at the Olympics on three occasions, playing a key role in two gold medals. He would be a natural selection as the team’s captain, and could provide unparalleled leadership.
Without a club team to play on, Iginla could stay in shape by playing in tune up games with the national team in November and December.
Canada will play a number of games in tournaments in Europe over the next few months, beginning August 6 in Sochi, Russia.
Hockey Canada brass have already identified a list of players who are in the running to make the Olympic team, and we got our first clues from the rosters released for two of the August tournaments.
Here’s the roster for the Sochi Hockey Open, taking place August 6 to 9:
|Justin Azevedo||F||West Lorne, ON||Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)|
|Gilbert Brulé||F||Edmonton, AB||Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL)|
|Brandon Buck||F||Delaware, ON||ERC Ingolstadt (DEL)|
|Kevin Clark||F||Winnipeg, MB||Brynäs IF (SHL)|
|Andrew Ebbett||F||Vernon, BC||SC Bern (NLA)|
|Bud Holloway||F||Wapella, SK||Skellefteå AIK (SHL)|
|Rob Klinkhammer||F||Lethbridge, AB||HC Dinamo Minsk (KHL)|
|Brandon Kozun||F||Calgary, AB||Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)|
|Ben Maxwell||F||North Vancouver, BC||Spartak Moskva (KHL)|
|Brandon McMillan||F||Delta, BC||Dinamo Riga (KHL)|
|Eric O’Dell||F||Ottawa, ON||HK Sochi (KHL)|
|Daniel Paille||F||Welland, ON||Brynäs IF (SHL)|
|Mason Raymond||F||Cochrane, AB||SC Bern (NLA)|
|Max Talbot||F||Saint-Bruno, QC||Lokomotiv Yarslavl (KHL)|
|Linden Vey||F||Wakaw, SK||Barys Astana (KHL)|
|Chay Genoway||D||Morden, MB||Lada Togliatti (KHL)|
|Geoff Kinrade||D||Nelson, BC||Kunlun Red Star (KHL)|
|Patrick McNeill||D||Strathroy, ON||ERC Ingolstadt (DEL)|
|Maxim Noreau||D||Montreal, QC||SC Bern (NLA)|
|Mat Robinson||D||Calgary, AB||CSKA Moskva (KHL)|
|Jonathan Sigalet||D||Vancouver, BC||Frölunda HC (SHL)|
|Karl Stollery||D||Camrose, AB||Dinamo Riga (KHL)|
|Justin Peters||G||Blythe, ON||Dinamo Riga (KHL)|
|Kevin Poulin||G||Montreal, QC||N/A|
There’s a number of familiar names on this list to Canadian NHL fans. Mason Raymond, formerly of the Canucks, Maple Leafs, Flames, and Ducks, is the most accomplished, having scored 251 points in his NHL career.
Daniel Paille, formerly of the Sabres, Bruins, and Rangers, has played 582 games in the NHL and owns a Stanley Cup ring. Max Talbot has a Stanley Cup on his resume too, which includes 704 NHL games with the Penguins, Flyers, Avalanche, and Bruins.
The second tournament Canada will field a team for is the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov, taking place August 14 to 17 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Team Canada will ice a completely different roster in St. Petersburg, save for former New York Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin, who is on both lists.
|Taylor Beck||F||Niagara Falls, ON||Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL)|
|Sean Collins||F||Saskatoon, SK||HK Sochi (KHL)|
|Cory Emmerton||F||St. Thomas, ON||HC Ambri-Piotta (NLA)|
|Ryan Garbutt||F||Winnipeg, MB||HK Sochi (KHL)|
|Andrew Gordon||F||Porters Lake, NS||Linköping HC (SHL)|
|David McIntyre||F||Pefferlaw, ON||EV Zug (NLA)|
|Jacob Micflikier||F||Winnipeg, MB||EHC Biel-Bienne (NLA)|
|Trevor Parkes||F||Fort Erie, ON||Augsburger Panther (DEL)|
|Marc-Antoine Pouliot||F||Quebec City, QC||EHC Biel-Bienne (NLA)|
|Derek Roy||F||Rockland, ON||Linköping HC (SHL)|
|Greg Scott||F||Victoria, BC||CSKA Moskva (KHL)|
|Paul Szczechura||F||Brantford, ON||Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)|
|James Wright||F||Saskatoon, SK||Admiral Vladivostok (KHL)|
|Cam Barker||D||Winnipeg, MB|
|Carlo Colaiacovo||D||Toronto, ON||Adler Mannheim (DEL)|
|Stefan Elliott||D||Vancouver, BC|
|Marc-Andre Gragnani||D||L’Île-Bizard, QC|
|Kevin Klein||D||Kitchener, ON||ZSC Lions (NLA)|
|Shawn Lalonde||D||Orleans, ON||Kölner Haie (DEL)|
|Craig Schira||D||Saskatoon, SK||Rögle BK (SHL)|
|Kevin Poulin||G||Montreal, QC||N/A|
|Ben Scrivens||G||Spruce Grove, AB||Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)|
There’s a lot of notable names here too.
Derek Roy, formerly of the Sabres, Stars, Canucks, Blues, Predators, and Oilers, was once a point-per-game player and a No. 1 centre. Defenceman Kevin Klein played 627 NHL games, and was a member of the New York Rangers last season.
Carlo Colaiacovo was a first round draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs and played 470 games in the NHL, primarily with the Leafs and Blues. Another former Leaf, Ben Scrivens, also played for the Kings, Oilers, and Canadiens, is an option in goal.