What we know – Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz will be playing alongside each other for Team Canada this Winter Olympics.
What we don’t know, is who will be the other winger.
Before he was ruled out for the tournament, Lightning’ forward Steven Stamkos was the leading candidate to slot on the right wing. Now, in my eyes, it’s going to come down to two forwards.
Avalanche’ forward Matt Duchene and Stamkos’ replacement, and teammate, Martin St. Louis.
Duchene, who’s a center, would be an easy pick, given his speed, goal-scoring ability, and puck management skills. Due to the fact Crosby, Ducks’ forward Ryan Getzlaf, Isles’ forward John Tavares, and Chicago’ forward Jonathan Toews are locked in to center the four lines, Duchene would have to slide into a wing-role.
While it remains possible that Duchene could ultimately be a sub, his skill-set is almost impossible to ignore, and when combined with Crosby and Kunitz, it should be enhanced. You have to remember though, Duchene is not a true winger. So even though he’s qualified as-far-as chemistry’s concerned, how well he’ll be able to execute will play a role in Canada’s decision.
Still, considering he’s more than likely going to play, you can’t help but speculate the magic those three could produce on that top-line. Duchene is electric, much like the two Pens’ forwards, and is a prime candidate to skate alongside them.
St. Louis is perhaps the more intriguing option.
Passed on during Team Canada’s roster announcement, by his own general manager, St. Louis is a true right winger, but labeled a sub.
Tied for 10th in the NHL in scoring (56 points), St. Louis hasn’t missed a beat since last season, when he led the league with 60. Even though he was essentially outcasted in January when he was originally snubbed, Canada must anticipate St. Louis will be bringing his “A” game, not only for his country and to prove the doubters wrong, but to also demonstrate he’s just as effective as Stamkos.
Although he’s not built with great size, which St. Louis’ shown doesn’t matter in the slightest, he’s a tremendously entrancing pick to play on the top-line. Kunitz doesn’t have a towering figure and he still manages to perform like a bonafide superstar – albeit alongside Crosby.
You can almost assume Chicago’ forward Patrick Sharp and Toews will be together, Getzlaf and teammate Corey Perry are a lock to play with each other, and they’ll all probably fill-up lines two-through-three. While it looks as though Tavares will man the fourth-line, and Duchene could be playing there with him, I can’t see that happening.
So is it Duchene, St. Louis, or somebody else?
I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins