Maybe it should not be a surprise that Ryan O’Reilly would be named to a possible Team Canada roster. He is a fantastic two-way center who just won the Conn Smythe trophy on the Stanley Cup winning team for 2019.
Nevertheless, even as a gigantic fan of his, it always feels like O’Reilly is one of those “oh yeah” guys. You don’t always consider him when thinking about some of the best players in the league until someone mentions that name and then you’re thinking “oh yeah, forgot about him” and smacking yourself in the head for doing so.
O’Reilly has had 50 or more points in eight of his 11 seasons in the NHL. One season he missed that mark due to injury and the others were when he was still feeling his way into the NHL.
When the offensive pressure was taken off him, O’Reilly’s playmaking abilities shown even more. He has had 49 assists in each of the last two seasons.
O’Reilly is almost always a contender for the Selke Trophy too. His defensive abilities, combined with his proposed linemates are a big reason for the selection.
"Mark Stone – Ryan O’Reilly – Patrice Bergeron The defensive prowess of this line combination must be the best ever assembled in international competition. Ryan O’Reilly is the defending Selke Trophy winner, Patrice Bergeron, from 2012-2017, won a record-tying four Selke Trophies, and Mark Stone has finished second in Selke voting the last three seasons. This line will have the unique ability to be able to match up against the other teams best as well as dominant in the offensive end. – Jordan Maresky"
Alex Pietrangelo is one of those players that got mentioned as a Norris Trophy winner just a season or two ago, but a string of poor form knocked him down a peg in the eyes of the pundits. However, his play during the 2019 playoffs was a big reason the Blues managed to win and re-established his worth to the St. Louis fanbase.
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He doesn’t have the offensive skill to lead the league in defensive points (he usually is top 10 though), nor does he have a mean streak to be considered one of the toughest defensemen to play against. However, he plays offense and defense so well that he still has to be considered one of the best defendsemen in the league. A snub by Team Canada would be almost unheard of.
The inclusion of Drew Doughty as his linemate is slightly surprising for the top pairing. That’s a discussion for others to have though.
Whether Pietrangelo stays in St. Louis after 2020 or goes, he will go down as one of the better players to ever play on the blue line here. He has an established international career as well, so one more chance with the red leaf on his chest would be in order.
This one was a shock to me. That is not because anyone should doubt Jordan Binnington‘s talents, but he is just so new to the scene.
Many fans and analysts often gravitate toward established goaltenders who have been around for a long time, Stanley Cup winners or not. Binnington literally burst onto the scene a little over a year ago, but made a gigantic splash.
Nevertheless, it is hard to argue against Maresky’s points regardless of Binnington’s time in service.
"As the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Binnington is one best goaltenders in the NHL today. Leading the St. Louis Blues in the net through their playoff push last year, Binnington showed he was cool, calm, and collected under pressure – the same characteristics needed to be a teams’ number one in a best-on-best tournament. Third in goals-against average over the last two seasons (stats; NHL.com), Binnington will backbone Canada to the top."
We could debate whether Binnington would even be the starter if you have guys like Carey Price on the team. Regardless of stats, even coaches tend to go with the veterans more.
Still, surprise to me or not, it makes sense to have Binnington on the team. He is clearly calm under pressure and knows how to shine in the big moments. You need that from a goaltender in short tournament scenarios.
Unfortunately, this will all likely remain pure speculation for the foreseeable future. Who knows if or when we will ever see NHL players suit up for their home countries again.
It is fun to discuss though. Let us know what you think of Jordan Maresky’s roster, which you can see here if you did not click the link above.
Who would you include from the Blues? The team is 90%, or more, Canadian, so there are plenty of options