Mason Raymond 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. Players like Raymond are part of that plan.
The longtime Canucks winger played just four NHL games last season before representing Canada at the Spengler Cup, but he’s a strong contender for a spot. The smooth skating forward is set to play with SC Bern in Switzerland next season.
A number of other former Canucks are in the running too, including Linden Vey, Andrew Ebbett, Brandon McMillan, Derek Roy, Cam Barker, and Marc-Andre Gragnani.
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. They 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. 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.
In addition to players playing overseas, Hockey Canada indicated that they will consider unsigned NHL players for the team, which currently includes veterans like Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan.
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.
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.