Team Canada Scouting Reports: The Surprises

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There were a few names that made Team Canada that EOTP didn't have on its preferred Olympic team. Check out what local SB Nation writers had to say about their candidacies.

In order to provide our EOTP war room with the best possible information on players in the run up to our Olympic Team podcast (you can read about the forwards here and the defensemen here), I reached out to SB Nation writers around the network for perspective on the players they get to see every day. Since Rick Nash, Chris Kunitz, and Jeff Carter weren't included on our team, those reports weren't released. Now you get a chance to see them.

Rick Nash: "Honestly right now Rick Nash isn't the player he was before the concussion. When on his game he's one of the most lethal players in the league, a guy capable of scoring from anywhere on the ice. Nash is a guy who can wreak havoc in front, and has ridiculous hands in close. Maybe this spell is due to his recovery (only Sidney Crosby returned from a concussion to be himself right away) so maybe it will get better by the Olympics, but right now he hasn't been that player." - Joe from Blueshirt Banter

Chris Kunitz: "Kunitz is very productive with Crosby, but he also has strong possession numbers without Sid. Kunitz is very under-rated in terms of his in-zone offensive passing and playmaking. He goes into the dirty areas (he plays the net-front position on the Pens #1 power play) and finds success, scoring a ton of goals from in tight. He's by far good enough and it will pay off. Play him with Crosby and pair them with a speedy player that has great puck-skills and doesn't mind working low and in the corners, like a Matt Duchene or a Logan Couture type. Kunitz/Crosby played with Patrick Sharp in the summer ball hockey nonsense, and while that may work, ideally I'd like to see Crosby paired with a more explosive type of player like Duchene or Couture." - Jim from Pensburgh

Jeff Carter: "Carter is pretty much who you think he is. He's a gamebreaking player in that he can create something out of absolutely nothing better than pretty much any King thanks to his lethal shot and strong speed. The thing that surprised me after he joined LA was his quick stick in terms of defensive play. He has maybe the best pokecheck on the Kings. He combines that with excellent acceleration and speed to create opportunities in transition at probably a higher rate than most of the Kings. Despite a series of injuries to his feet, he hasn't slowed down. He certainly seems to be at 100% right now, and is combining with Anze Kopitar and Dwight King to create a pretty dangerous top line for the Kings. I think he needs a good play driver with him. He's been with Richards and Kopitar all season and they both move the puck exceptionally well. In spite of his speed, he hasn't been the elite zone entry guy I kind of expected him to be. He mostly relies on his linemates and gets in position for them. He has a hiccup now and again but he's a pretty steady player. His level of play has been pretty much the same since he got here." - Nick from Jewels from the Crown

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Bonus - Here are the scouting reports for some other players who were in contention:

Milan Lucic: "Lucic's blend of size, speed and skill could prove to be a valuable commodity for Team Canada. The NHL's prototypical power forward, Lucic has the ability to intimidate the opposition and initiate the offense that many teams covet. Lucic can also win the odd face off, contributes on the power play, and has has the ability to create as much as he can finish. Whether he can bring that effectively to the bigger ice surface is up for debate, but he plays a prominent role on one of the NHL's best teams, and has demonstrated an ability to raise his game with the stakes are high (see Game 7 vs. Toronto)." - Ian from Stanley Cup of Chowder

Taylor Hall: "Taylor Hall's having a bit of an uneven season, in part because of a failed attempt to move him from left wing to centre (starting back in training camp) and in part owing to a knee injury suffered roughly 10 games in. He's made it easy for Team Canada's management group to leave him behind, particularly thanks to some decidedly mediocre defensive play early, but he's also probably the most dynamic Canadian-born player at his position and a guy who would make the team if I were selecting it because he has shown an ability to drive the play in a way other players don't." - Jonathan Willis from Bleacher Report, Oilers Nation, Copper & Blue, etc.

Brent Seabrook: "Seabrook is a big, strong defenseman who knows hot to win. He was on the Gold Medal winning team at the 2010 Olympics and has two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. In Chicago's system, Seabrook is considered a stay at home defenseman, but this is misleading outside of Chicago. While Seabrook carries heavy defensive responsibilities, he activates into the offensive zone on nearly every shift. It is no surprise to see him below the goal line in the offensive zone when the Blackhawks are on the rush and even during a cycle. He prefers shooting from the right circle but is adept at using his big slap shot and his wrister from anywhere on the ice. Seabrook is the anchor for Chicago's second power play unit and also logs heavy minutes on the penalty kill.
Seabrook leads the Blackhawks in hits, is second in blocked shots and second only to Duncan Keith in TOI/60. He's a workhorse, who is not easily rattled. It is rare to see him lose his cool even when clearing bodies from the front of the net or interceding on behalf of a teammate. He excels at reading the rush and making the stretch pass to aid the quick transition game that has led to the offensive success of the Blackhawks." - Jen from Second City Hockey

Kris Letang: "As far as Kris Letang goes, if I'm Team Canada I pass on him without even giving him a lot of consideration, truthfully. They have Shea Weber, PK Subban, Drew Doughty and Alex Pietrangelo as 4 right-handed guys that would work just fine. Letang got hurt in training camp and missed the first month of the season and hasn't gotten in the groove yet, as he went back on IR a week ago with an undisclosed injury (that's believed to be minor). Letang's been inconsistent and has played with an unusually low level of confidence, leading a Pittsburgh beat writer to speculate he's thinking too much about his new contract and trying to impress Team Canada brass. No matter how you slice it, Canada has more options that are healthy and playing a lot better to chose from, they can easily afford to pass up Letang who hasn't been consistent or been able to stay healthy this season. If Sochi was 2013, I'd probably advocate for Letang, but this year he hasn't been that impressive or healthy." - Jim from Pensburgh

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