Last Year: Team Canada, used to winning Gold Medals, extended their gold medal drought to 4 tournaments. The last time Canada wore Gold around their necks was in Ottawa in 2009, They failed to medal in 2013, finishing a very disappointing 4th in a year where they had access to all their best players due to the NHL lockout.
Returning Players: F Jonathan Drouin,F Charles Hudon (selected but missed tournament due to injury), D Griffin Reinhart, G Jake Paterson (selected as 3rd goalie last season but did not play)
Key Missing NHL players: Nathan MacKinnon, Sean Monahan, Tom Wilson, Morgan Rielly
Ottawa Interests: F Curtis Lazar was Ottawa’s 1st round pick in the 2013 NHL draft.
Key Players: F – Drouin should be among the tournament leaders in scoring for Canada to be in gold medal contention. D – Matthew Dumba was released by the Minnesota Wild, the only current NHLer made available. G- Paterson seems to be the opening night starter and coach Brent Sutter likes to run with one goalie.
Draft Watch: Connor McDavid is considered the front runner for the 2015 NHL draft, while Sam Reinhart and D Aaron Ekblad are considered the 1-2 prospects for next summer’s NHL draft.
Key To Victory: Brent Sutter has won Gold twice as the head coach for Team Canada. In 2005, during the previous NHL lockout, he had control of the “Dream Team” that many felt would win gold with no coaching. However, Sutter made sure they had the right direction to bring home gold. Sutter then guided the 2006 edition of Team Canada to a Gold in Vancouver, a unit that was not expected to win with almost a completely turned over roster. Sutter has never lost a game behind the Team Canada bench.
Projected Round Robin Finish: The first and second spots in Group A will come down to the New Year’s Eve matchup between Canada and the USA. Whoever wins that game will be first in the group and get the easier Quarterfinal Matchup
Potential Finish: Canada has the pieces in place to be in the Gold Medal game, but it will take a good all-around team effort because goals will be hard to come by for this group in games against the tougher teams. Should medal, but the question is, what Color?