Winter Olympics Hockey 2014 - Selecting Team Canada for Sochi: The Back End

Harry How

A panel of EOTP writers and editors got together to form their own War Room to select the best possible team to represent Canada in Sochi. Here are the results. Part I covers the forwards chosen. Part II covers the defensemen and goaltenders.

On a live podcast, in War Room format, Bruce Peter, Ian Murray, Matt Drake, Stephan Cooper, and myself chose the 25 players that we felt would give Canada its best chance of defending gold in Sochi. If you missed it yesterday, here are the 14 forwards that the panel chose for the tournament. You can also find my predictions as to who WILL make the team, here. Now, it's time to break down the defense corps and goaltenders.

You can also listen to the entire 2 hour podcast right here:

Listen To Hockey Internet Radio Stations with Habs Eyes On The Prize on BlogTalkRadio

STATISTICS: In addition to conventional stats like goals and points, shooting percentage is listed to isolate artificially elevated goal totals. On-ice shooting percentage is listed a t5-on-5 only, but serves the same role for point totals. O/D ZS% indicates the percentage of non-neutral zone post-whistle shifts a player starts in the offensive zone. A lower number indicates a more defensive assignment. CF% stands for Corsi For Percentage, and it indicates the percentage of shot attempts a player's team records with that player on the ice at 5-on-5. Relative Corsi compares a player's CF% while on the ice with the team's performance without that player on the ice. EVTm% is the percentage of a team's even-strength ice time that player plays while in the lineup. The concept is the same for power play and shorthanded ice time. For a more detailed look at fancystats, feel free to look here and here.

DEFENSE

LD Duncan Keith (L) - Chicago Blackhawks

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
43 3 36 39 2.8% 9.5% 56.7% 57.0% +2.3% 37.1% 60.2% 45.5%

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Role: 1st pairing two-way blueliner, 2nd unit power play, assistant captain

Duncan Keith is a hold-over from the Vancouver Olympics where he played alongside a 20-year old Drew Doughty to form Canada's best pairing. There's no reason the duo shouldn't be reunited in Sochi. Keith is primarily an offensive blueliner, and he is used as such in Chicago. With the emergence of Nicklas Hjalmarsson as a capable shut-down defender, Keith and Seabrook have been given more offensive-zone deployment, and have thrived.

Keith is the highest scoring d-man at the midway point of the season, and his 36 assists are eight higher than than the next best playmaker from the back-end, Erik Karlsson. His numbers aren't simply a product of playing with high-end forwards, either, as Keith has a CF% above 56% when playing behind the team's third line of Shaw, Bickell, and Saad.

Keith is also a defensive superstar, and although a small sample size of minutes away from Seabrook put some question into who truly drives the pairing, watching the duo play settles the question very quickly. Keith is a deserving first-pairing defenseman for Canada, and will play the point on one of the power play units.

Scouting Report: "Keith is a phenomenal skater, who can put forth iron man performances. He is very involved in the offensive side of the game. His bread and butter is the slap shot from the point that provides rebound opportunities for the forwards. this is particularly apparent on the power play. This season, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has been putting Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson on the ice against the toughest quality of competition in order to give more offensive space to Keith and his defensive partner, Brent Seabrook. Keith also possesses elite defensive skills which has led to heavy penalty killing time." - Jen from Second City Hockey

RD Drew Doughty (R) - Los Angeles Kings

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
42 6 16 22 6.0% 8.6% 51.6% 58.2% +3.3% 39.3% 64.5% 39.1%

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Role: 1st pairing two-way blueliner, 1st unit power play, 2nd unit penalty kill

As a 20-year old, Drew Doughty shocked the hockey world with his poise during the 2010 Olympics. Nowadays, he is unquestionably one of the top defensemen in the league, and is another lock for this team and for big minutes. Doughty and Keith form a great partnership because both seem to play their best with partners who can move the puck. Doughty struggled with Robyn Regehr early in the year because the other team could focus their attention on the youngster, limiting his offensive potential. With these two stars together, there will be no such problem.

Doughty can play either point on the power play, but we'll put him on the right so that he can feed P.K. Subban's one-timer on the first unit. The Kings have also consistently had a good penalty kill, which Doughty is a significant part of.

Besides his linemate Jake Muzzin who plays significantly easier minutes, Doughty leads all Canadian defensemen in CF% at 58.2%, and his team scores 58.3% of the total goals with him on the ice. He is the only defenseman this year to rank in the top-10 in both Corsi-for and Corsi-against per 20 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time. The guy is a stud, basically.

Scouting Report: "He had a moderately slow start to the season while he was paired with Robyn Regehr, but has been pretty unbelievable since being paired with Jake Muzzin. I'd say as long as Doughty is playing with someone that can handle the puck in his own zone, he's fine. He can play with anyone and his game will mesh with theirs. He's been successful with Rob Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, and now Jake Muzzin in his career, but has struggled with Jack Johnson and Robyn Regehr. Muzzin isn't a defensive wizard, but he's a decent enough puck mover that he doesn't create headaches for his pairing. Doughty is the most explosive playdriver on the team. His ability to gain the zone with control and create offense without sacrificing on the defensive side is unmatched by any other defender in the league in my eye." - Nick from Jewels From The Crown

LD P.K. Subban (R) - Montreal Canadiens

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
42 7 26 33 5.7% 8.0% 47.5% 50.8% +6.7% 40.1% 77.9% 13.8%

Screen_shot_2014-01-02_at_11

Role: 2nd pairing offensive blueliner, 1st unit power play

On a team with a wealth of right-handed defensemen, Subban becomes the guy to play his off-side. Why Subban? Because mobility is more important than anything else when doing so. Playing the off-side, one must have the ability to spin around seamlessly, and to use one's skating abilities to defend the rush in situations where normally one would have full use of the stick on the strong side. Subban plays the point on his offside on the power play, which has included defending numerous 2-on-1 breaks shorthanded, so he has some experience with this.

Due to his propensity to take risks, Subban has developed a reputation as a defensive liability, and in a short tournament, it is true that a risk gone wrong can leave a team on the outside looking in. But what the average spectator doesn't realize is that not only does his risk-taking allow the continuation of plays that lead to countless goals for, but his speed, stick-work, and physicality allow him to recover, even following poorly timed pinches or turnovers, the majority of the time. Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, no Team Canada defense candidate was on the ice for fewer goals against per 20 minutes of even-strength ice time, and of those candidates only Dan Hamhuis was on the ice for a higher number of goals for. Subban isn't an offensive defenseman; Subban is the poster-child for the elite defensemen of the new NHL. Most of his defensive work is done for him by being in the offensive zone so much, but even when it's not he mops up better than most.

Scouting Report: "There really is no way anymore to use hyperbole to describe how good Subban is. He does literally everything you could want a defenseman to do. If you're of the new school frame of mind, he dominates possession at both ends of the ice no matter how tough the competition he's facing is, and is a zone entry and zone exit machine. If you're of the old school frame of mind, he scores goals like it's going out of style, hits like a truck, blocks shots, and wins battles on the boards, even if he's outnumbered. Subban might end up being forced to play his off side, and considering that's where he plays on the powerplay, and that he's used to covering for slow defenseman on his off side anyway, I highly doubt he struggles, especially if he's paired with a guy like Weber or Doughty." - Andrew Berkshire from Habs Eyes On The Prize

RD Alex Pietrangelo (R) - St. Louis Blues

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
40 4 22 26 4.9% 10.2% 50.4% 54.4% +2.2% 38.6% 52.0% 55.3%

Screen_shot_2014-01-03_at_12

Role: 2nd pairing offensive blueliner, 1st unit penalty kill

Alex Pietrangelo joins this team as one of hockey's best two-way defenseman, after a few good years off the radar. He has been put on the map thanks to his successful partnership with Jay Bouwmeester, which has led many fans, media members, and likely Hockey Canada executives to argue in favor of including the duo. While there is something to be said for chemistry - especially on the back end where synchronization trumps creativity in many instances - the With Or Without You (WOWY) numbers suggest that Pietrangelo is the one driving the ship, while Bouwmeester - who was largely unimpressive on the big ice at the Olympics in Turin - is simply an above average puck-mover taking advantage. Pietrangelo has a 54.9% Corsi while playing with Bouwmeester, but when they've been separated this year, while the former's number has dropped to 51.9%, the latter has fallen all the way to 45.0%. While in decently small sample sizes, those numbers aren't the be-all end-all, they do suggest what the eyes reinforce: Bouwmeester isn't an Olympican on his own, and there are better left-handed candidates.

As for Pietrangelo, the 2008 fourth overall pick is capable of playing tough minutes, but he and Subban are likely best used in the offensive zone. While the panel considered Pietrangelo instead with a more defensive figure like Vlasic, it was determined that his ideal partner would have more offensive upside. Pietrangelo has also been a rock on the penalty kill this year in St. Louis, and will anchor the first unit. The Blues sit fifth in the NHL in goals against/60 mins at 4-on-5 (a better metric than simple PK% due to the skewing of 5-on-3s, 5 minute majors, as well as the fact that power plays end after every goal scored), and Pietrangelo is a big reason why.

Scouting Report: "If Bouwmeester doesn't make it, someone with some offensive sense should be paired with Pietrangelo, but also defensively responsible. He's been paired with more stay at home guys in the past, and it's been ok, but he's really played well with the type of player Bouwmeester is." - Laura from St. Louis Game Time


GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
41 4 11 15 6.5% 7.8% 46.1% 57.3% +6.6% 35.5% 11.7% 51.1%

Screen_shot_2014-01-03_at_12

Role: 3rd pairing tough minutes blueliner, 1st unit penalty kill

This season, no Canadian Olympic Team candidate has allowed fewer goals against per 20 minutes at even-strength than Vlasic, except for his teammate Dan Boyle who plays considerably easier minutes. The Quebec native isn't as flashy as a number of the other candidates for this team, but he is by no means a defense-only player, as he has racked up as many as 36 points in a season - albeit several years ago - and has even started to get some power play time in San Jose. Perhaps Vlasic's biggest strength is ability to transition from defense to offense, something Team Canada executives made a note of while scouting the Sharks in early December. It doesn't have to be fancy, but he knows how to get the puck to his highly-skilled forwards, several of whom he will likely be reunited with in Sochi.

Vlasic is also a power play anchor, playing more than half the team's time shorthanded. His familiarity with Couture and Marleau on this team will be an asset for 4-on-5 situations even more than at even-strength, and although the Sharks PK isn't elite like the Blues', Vlasic's solid positioning and ability to get the puck out - likely in a different system - should still be valuable.

Scouting Report: "Despite squaring off against opposing top lines on a nightly basis and sporting a 45% offensive-zone start rate, Marc-Edouard Vlasic has still managed to post a 57.5% Corsi rate that ranks fifth among NHL defensemen. Only the members of the dominant Jake Muzzin/Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith/Brent Seabrook pairings are higher as Vlasic, for the third straight season, is proving he deserves to be included in conversation with some of the best blueliners in the league. With Team Canada apparently insistent on taking close to an even split of left- and right-side defensemen to Sochi, it's hard to see the sense in leaving Vlasic off the team when he's playing some of the best defensive hockey of a career that's been characterized by a precocious amount of veteran savvy. He's also finally showing signs of life offensively, on pace for 30 points this season despite receiving no regular power play time." - Derek from Fear The Fin

RD Shea Weber (R) - Nashville Predators

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
38 10 14 24 11.9% 6.0% 45.4% 47.3% +0.8% 41.5% 59.3% 53.0%

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Role: 3rd pairing tough minutes blueliner, 2nd unit power play

Shea Weber got his feet wet at the 2010 Olympics playing with the great Scott Niedermayer, but this time around we assigned him a more defensive partner, and made Weber the primary puck mover, as he was with Ryan Suter a couple of seasons ago in Nashville. Weber, throughout his time with the Predators, has been saddled with incredibly tough minutes, and it is for that reason that the panel decided to put him in a similar situation with Canada. With Vlasic, a reliable puck-mover who is solid positionally, Weber can more freely use his physical game and find open space to unleash his devastating slap shot.

Weber plays the left point, like Subban, on the power play, but this year began playing significant penalty kill time, where he could play some time if need be.

Scouting Report: "Weber is having a fine season, which is being overshadowed somewhat by the Predators' overall struggles. As usual, he's playing a primary role in all situations (with about 3 minutes of both PK and PP ice time per game), and he recently took over the Nashville lead in goal-scoring with 9. There's no question, however, that Ryan Suter is still missed as that reliable safety net, as the other Preds who have played alongside him (Roman Josi & Seth Jones, mostly) have talent but not quite the assertiveness that Suter brought. Ideally he'd be paired with a speedy puck mover who can complement Weber's greatest strengths. He can break up an opposing team's cycle by pinning his man to the boards and knocking the puck loose, but he needs that partner to swoop in immediately and carry it out of harm's way. His slap shot is a dangerous offensive weapon, but he does best when someone else can gain the zone and he can focus on finding the best shooting position." - Dirk from On The Forecheck

LD Dan Hamhuis (L) - Vancouver Canucks

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
42 4 9 13 4.4% 9.6% 49.5% 53.5% +4.0% 37.2% 49.3% 46.8%

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Role: 7th defenseman, defensive specialist, 1st unit penalty kill

As mentioned above, Dan Hamhuis led all Team Canada candidates in on-ice goals for per 20 minutes at even-strength the last two season. But the panel decided to bring Hamhuis more because of his defensive prowess and his possession abilities. This year, he has been primarily paired with Chris Tanev, and the WOWY statistics suggest that Hamhuis is largely driving the bus on that pair. The same can be said for his time with Kevin Bieksa over the past few years, whose CF% drops significantly away from our designated 7th defenseman.

Hamhuis is also an asset on the penalty kill. This year, he sits only slightly behind Jay Bouwmeester, his biggest competitor for this spot, in terms of GA/20 shorthanded, and thats' without the help of Pietrangelo with him.

Scouting Report: "With Alexander Edler out of action Torts [was] playing Hamhuis even more (almost 30:00 per game). Hamhuis now leads the team in total minutes played, shifts totaled, and is second on the team in even strength, shorthanded and power play time on ice. Is Hamhuis a good fit for Team Canada? Yes. He can play any style the coach wants him to. He can rush the puck, run a power play and shut opposing teams down. On Team Canada I vision him as a bottom [pairing] defenceman in that shutdown role, as there are plenty of other point-getting defenceman lining up for the job." - Sean from Nucks Misconduct

LD/RD Brian Campbell (L) - Florida Panthers

GP G A Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
41 5 14 19 7.7% 7.1% 55.4% 53.1% +3.4% 41.5% 72.3% 46.4%

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Role: 8th defenseman, utility-man, alternative power play quarterback

It can often be difficult to assess a player on a bad team, and such is the case with Florida's Brian Campbell. By all accounts, the veteran Panther is not in contention for this team, but it's not difficult to see one of the reasons why. Keith? Seabrook? Doughty? Pietrangelo? Bowmeester? Vlasic? Boyle? Subban? What do these guys all have in common? They play for playoff, and in most cases, elite teams. Weber gets a pass because of his past Olympic experience and power play abilities, but facts are facts. Weber this year has a relative corsi - which compares one's on-ice corsi to how one's teams performs without them - of +0.8%. Campbell's is +3.4%.

Having seen him in person several times this over the past couple of years, Campbell is a very strong puck mover, who seems to take a cluster of no-name linemates and put them on the map. He might be one of the most underrated players in the league, likely because he doesn't score highlight real goals, doesn't have a big physical presence, and plays in South Florida. The other advantage to Campbell is that although he is a lefty, he has played significant time on both the right and left sides the past few years, and therefore would be a capable top-6 replacement no matter who goes down.

Scouting Report: "Even at 34-years-old, Brian Campbell is still capable of logging loads of ice time. The dependable offensive defenseman is currently clocking 27:01 ATOI during his third campaign with the Panthers, and has yet to miss a game with Florida since the 2011 trade from the Chicago Blackhawks. Although Campbell leads the club's defenders with sixteen points, he is in a second straight season of scoring decline, averaging .421 PPG after posting .562 PPG last year. That is a significant drop off from his first season with the Cats, when he averaged .646 PPG with 53 points in 82 games. Seven (2G/5A) of Campbell's sixteen points have come on the power play, and he is still a pretty effective passer when a man up, but with the Panthers struggling mightily as a team with the man-advantage, he should be shooting much more. Campbell, who is not a physical defender, is best when paired with a defensive-minded partner who hits and can skate well enough to keep up with him when defense turns to offense." - Todd from Litter Box Cats

MISSING THE CUT

While many of these are consensus choices, the surprising decision to take Campbell came at the expense of Seabrook and Boyle, so let's take a look at how those three compare.

Player GP TOI/60 Pts Sh% On-Ice Sh% O/D ZS% CF% CF% rel EVTm% PPTm% SHTm%
Campbell 41 27.0 19 7.7% 7.1% 55.4% 53.1% +3.4% 41.5% 72.3% 46.4%
Seabrook 43 21.1 29 6.3% 10.0% 57.3% 57.7% +3.3% 35.5% 36.7% 40.3%
Boyle 34 20.8 19 8.9% 4.5% 52.5% 53.9% +1.4% 33.9% 59.1% 5.2%

If there's one thing that the 2010 Olympics taught us when it came to Team Canada is that manufactured chemistry, which was supposedly so critical, was thrown out the window early in on in favor of talent. Keith and Seabrook were split up early on, and Thornton/Marleau/Heatley were largely ineffective at even strength. It's amazing that despite this fact, guys like Seabrook and Bouwmeester continue to be pushed because of their pre-formed partnerships. I have no issue with either being a candidate on their own merit - although I personally would put Jay-Bo down a rung - but the fact is that what one needs to look for is the best players. Only Ryan Suter plays more per game than Campbell, and Suter does so on a likely playoff team with stars like Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and a solid up-and-coming player in Brodin as his partner. Campbell has put up far above average possession numbers playing with almost league-minimum-salary (and highly underrated, but still) Tom Gilbert, and how's this for a striking stat: Campbell has a better goals-for percentage than Suter (49.1% to 48.9%). Who's a Norris Trophy nominee now?

FINAL DEFENSE LINEUP

Pairing 1: Keith-Doughty

Pairing 2: Subban-Pietrangelo

Pairing 3: Vlasic-Weber

Alternates: Hamhuis-Campbell

PP 1: Subban-Doughty

PP 2: Weber-Keith

PK 1: Vlasic-Pietrangelo

PK 2: Hamhuis-Doughty

GOALTENDERS

G Carey Price - Montreal Canadiens

GP GS W L OT GAA Sv% SO
33 33 19 11 3 2.21 .928 2

Role: Starting goalie

Price is going to be the starting goalie for Team Canada, and there isn't much that needs to be said to defend that. He's third in the league in save percentage among full-time starters. He's coming into his peak goalie years. He faces more tough quality shots on a nightly basis than most goalies, and stops nearly all of them. He won a World Junior Championship on big ice in Europe, so although he plays a somewhat aggressive style that could cause some adjustment because of the different angles faced, he should have the experience necessary to do so successfully.

Price has perhaps the best combination of size, athleticism, and technique in the league. He was one of the first in a new development of the butterfly technique that allowed for swifter lateral movement, which is why he generally doesn't make sprawling glove saves - his footwork means that he doesn't have to. Price has dealt with the pressure of playing playoff hockey in Montreal, and he has developed mentally as well as physically to the point that very little phases him.

Scheduled starts:

February 13 vs. Norway

February 16 vs. Finland

G Roberto Luongo - Vancouver Canucks

GP GS W L OT GAA Sv% SO
32 32 16 9 6 2.24 .920 3

Role: Backup goalie

Luongo is an interesting case because his track record is exceptional. Even beyond winning gold for Canada in 2010, a tournament in which - to be honest - he didn't look all that convincing, his career numbers prove that his failing to win a Stanley Cup shouldn't be the black mark on his resume that it has become. Luongo hasn't finished a full season with a below .913 save percentage since his rookie year. That's something that no goalie has ever done before. Yes, even the oh so beloved Martin Brodeur. His current .920 sits 18th in the league overall, which is a testament to how much goal scoring has decreased more than anything else.

What's truly worrying about Luongo, however, is that as a veteran who still uses a fairly early butterfly technique, his lateral movement isn't what it should be, leading him to be off balance and often out of position. His poor stickhandling is yet another factor that works against him, especially on big ice.

Ultimately, Luongo makes this team because no full-time Canadian starters have challenged for it. He's no longer the goalie he once was, but he should also be able to keep a talented team in a hockey game, and he has the experience in big-game situations should Price go down to injury.

Scheduled starts:

February 14 vs. Austria

G James Reimer - Toronto Maple Leafs

GP GS W L OT GAA Sv% SO
18 18 8 5 1 2.83 .924 1

Role: 3rd string goalie

This may have been the toughest pick to make, mostly because the guys with good track records have fallen off, and the guys who are hot this year have very little track record of success. Despite support for Smith and Holtby, Reimer was the guy who we felt had the best balance of these two factors.

He's been in the league now for four years, and put up a save percentage of at least .921 in all but one, in which speculation is he was seriously inhibited by injury. Obviously, one must address the elephant in the room, which is the average hockey fan who asks: "how can you take James Reimer when he's not even really the Leafs' starting goalie?" But our job in the War Room isn't to take any one team's word for it. We have the ability to combine the eye test and pedigree with statistical analysis. Eric Tulsky of Broad Street Hockey and who knows how many other sites posted this a little while back on evaluating true goaltender talent, so we'll start there.

Goalie Shots faced Save percentage ES shots faced ES save percentage True long-run ES talent
Price 10,987 .915 8738 .922 .922 +/- 4
Luongo 25,011 .919 18,9191 .929 .929 +/- 1
Smith 9109 .915 7268 .923 .923 +/- 5
Holtby 3181 .922 2597 .930 .926 +/- 7
Crawford 5768 .915 4752 .924 .923 +/- 6
Bernier 2516 .920 2031 .928 .925 +/- 7
Reimer 3940 .918 3280 .927 .926 +/- 7
Harding 4130 .918 3319 .927 .926 +/- 7

Even-strength save percentage is important because it has been shown to be a lot more repeatable from year to year and is thus seen as a greater indicator of goalie prowess than regular save percentage. Special teams, it is thought, are too dependent on systems and can vary sporadically. Taking true talent numbers from Tulsky's graph, and estimating where necessary, I came up with good estimates for true goaltender talent. For example, Price's ".922 +/- 4" means that the best guess on Price's true even-strength talent is a .922 save percentage. We can be 95% sure that his true talent is somewhere between .918 and .926. Now it's important to note that these are career-long numbers. Obviously for somebody like Luongo these stats show just how impressive he's been throughout his career, but obviously he hasn't been that good recently. For most of the others, however, these numbers are taken largely from the past three or four years, meaning it gives us a pretty good estimate of how good these goalies are.

That is simply the first step in the analysis. While Price and Luongo are already locked into their spots, the race for the third spot seems as tight as ever from these numbers. How does one differentiate between Braden Holtby, Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer, and Josh Harding, who seem like the best of the rest? Well Holtby is a good young goalie, but he has struggled since mid-November, and has now essentially lost his starting job. Since we want good goalies but also goalies in good form, Holtby is out. Harding has been good this season, but barely playing in 2012-13 means his recent sample is lacking conviction. Harding is left behind.

Our own Chris Boyle's most recent piece for Sportsnet makes the case for Price, Reimer, and Holtby to go to Sochi, and while the panel disagreed with bringing the struggling Holtby, the analysis was sound. When breaking down the data, Smith's sub-par reflexes lead to allowing too many goals off of clean shots, Crawford and Fleury are sheltered by their respective team systems, and Reimer scores above average in every category of shot faced. He gets the edge over Bernier because of a) a larger sample of quality work with similar numbers, and b) playoff experience in which he played well overall. Should Reimer be pushed into action, he won't have the Maple Leafs defensive coverage in front of him. We don't expect another three-goal collapse.

Scheduled starts:

None

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

A wholehearted thank you once again to all of the SB Nation writers and editors who took the time to contribute to this piece (many weren't quoted), giving us specialized insight into some of the players we don't get to see every day. Thank you as always to extraskater.com and stats.hockeyanalysis.com for the possession figures, and to sportingcharts.com for the shot charts.

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