Hockey

Radio-Canada Sports - Tuesday Nov. 26, 2013 15:14 ET

Does P.K. Subban have a place on Canada's Olympic hockey team?

Olympic power rankings: Week 8

subban-rankings-cp-197998
P.K. Subban is the reigning Norris Trophy winner, but he's still on the bubble for Team Canada. (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)

In Week 8 of our Olympic hockey power rankings, Radio-Canada’s Guillaume Lefrançois ranks 30 Canadian skaters according to their performance over the past seven days. Each week, Lefrançois and Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports also debate one player in greater detail.

This week: P.K. Subban is on the hot seat.

GL: After Michel Therrien raised eyebrows by keeping the reigning Norris trophy winner on the bench late in close games, it seems like the Montreal Canadiens’ head coach now sees P.K. Subban as a reliable defenceman. For two straight games, Subban was on the ice for the final minute, protecting a one-goal lead, against the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

Playing on a team that has struggled scoring goals at even strength, his +7 differential is quite impressive.

If his defensive play was the one knock on him, Subban has done everything he could to show that he wouldn’t be such a gamble for Team Canada.

TW: Subban simply has too much talent for him not to be included on Canada’s roster. His skating should be a huge factor on the big ice and Canada will need a player like Subban to carry the puck on the power play as well as during 5-on-5 action. His game continues to evolve.

I also believe he’s one of those special players who raises his level in big games and at important times of the season. He also has played well for the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially in his rookie season when with just two games of NHL regular-season experience he stepped in and helped the Habs advance all the way to the East final.

GL: His offensive numbers are off the charts: 68 points over his last 82 games, and a league-leading (among defencemen) 36 power-play points since the start of the 2013 season.

Now, if only he could learn to do all those things, but with a left-handed stick… If Steve Yzerman wants his defencemen to play on their natural side, it means that someone between Subban, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo and Brent Seabrook will have to watch the Olympics from home.

TW
: The lack of left-shooting D-men has become a problem for Canada. That's why the likes of Duncan Keith, Jay Bouwmeester and Marc-Edouard Vlasic have become so valuable. That's why Subban, if he makes the Canadian roster, may only be a power-play specialist or an eighth defenceman sitting in the stands.

Forwards
1. Sidney Crosby

Key Stat: 5 points in 4 games, but a frustrating Saturday night in Montreal
Guillaume says: Order is restored: Crosby has more points than Alexander Steen.
Previous ranking: 1
2. Jonathan Toews

Key stat: 4 points Thursday evening at home in Winnipeg
Guillaume says: Pressure never seems to affect him.
Previous ranking: 2
3. Corey Perry

Key stat: Only 1 goal this week, but it was the winner against the Coyotes
Guillaume says: If Steven Stamkos doesn't recover on time, Perry's natural talent as a pure scorer will become even more crucial for Canada.
Previous ranking: 4
4. John Tavares

Key stat: 2 points in 3 games for the Islanders captain
Guillaume says: The Islanders have not been the same since Matt Moulson's departure.
Previous ranking: 3
  5. Ryan Getzlaf

Key stat: In the middle of a 7-game point streak (7 goals, 11 points)
Guillaume says: In his case, it's a matter of knowing if he'll be as good on the bigger ice rink.
Previous ranking: 5
  6. Patrice Bergeron

Key stat: No points in 4 games, but his opponents only managed 1 goal against him
Guillaume says: He wins 60% of his face-offs.
Previous ranking: 6
7. Logan Couture

Key stat: Has scored only 1 goal in November, but he had 3 assists on Thursday
Guillaume says: Just like the Sharks, he has rebounded in the past two weeks.
Previous ranking: 8
8. Eric Staal

Key stat: 3 points against the Senators on Sunday; 6-game point streak
Guillaume says: He's making up for lost time after a slow start to the season.
Previous ranking: 9
9. Matt Duchene

Key stat: Injured, didn't play this week
Guillaume says: The Avalanche were hoping he would be back by Saturday, but that didn't happen.
Previous ranking: 7
10. Claude Giroux

Key stat: 2 goals and 2 assists in 3 games
Guillaume says: He is slowly reassuring those who fear for his spot in Sochi.
Previous ranking: 14
11. Martin St. Louis

Key stat: 1 assist and a -5 rating in 3 games for the guy who played his 1,000th game this week
Guillaume says: Steven Stamkos's absence is starting to weigh heavily, both on him, and on his team.
Previous ranking: 10
  12. Tyler Seguin

Key stat: 1 assist in 3 games since his 4-goal big night
Guillaume says: His start to the season continues to make headlines.
Previous ranking: 12
  13. Mike Richards

Key stat: No points in 3 games
Guillaume says: If a spot is given to him in Sochi, he won't be able to play in his natural centre position.
Previous ranking: 13
14. Patrick Sharp

Key stat: Only 1 point in 3 outings
Guillaume says: Will the chemistry between him and Toews play in his favour?
Previous ranking: 11
15. Taylor Hall

Key stat: Only 2 games, but tallied 3 points
Guillaume says: In order to be considered, he will really have to excel.
Previous ranking: 18
16. Joe Thornton

Key stat: 2 more assists for a total of 22 this season, he continues to be the league-leader in assists
Guillaume says: Only 9 goals in his last 71 games, but he piles the assists on.
Previous ranking: 15
17. Jamie Benn

Key stat: 1 assist in 2 games, but he is maintaining his pace of more than 1 point per game
Guillaume says: It's going to be interesting to watch him until the team is revealed.
Previous ranking: 16
18. Jason Spezza

Key stat: A -6 rating in 4 games
Guillaume says: The Senators are going to go where their captain takes them.
Previous ranking: 17
  19. Rick Nash

Key stat: 1 goal in 3 games since his comeback
Guillaume says: His responsibilities are still limited, he needs time to find his rhythm again.
Previous ranking: 19
  20. Steven Stamkos

Key stat: Suffered a broken right tibia on Nov. 11 against Boston
Tim says: Canadian management confident Stamkos will recover in time.
Previous ranking: 20
Defencemen
1. Duncan Keith

Key Stat: 3 assists in 3 games, and a +4 Thursday night in Winnipeg
Guillaume says: He is having a remarkable November from a stats point of view.
Previous ranking: 3
2. Shea Weber

Key stat: A goal for this giant defenceman
Guillaume says: Weber is the most utlized defenceman amongst the Canadians (26:42).
Previous ranking: 1
3. Drew Doughty

Key stat: 2 assists and a +3 record on Tuesday against the Lightning
Guillaume says: His team has only allowed a couple of 5-on-5 goals this week.
Previous ranking: 2
  4. Alex Pietrangelo

Key stat: He contributed to the St. Louis Blues' perfect week with 2 assists
Guillaume says: Only 1 penalty and 4 hits this season. The other team doesn't control the puck much when he's on the ice.
Previous ranking: 4
5. Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Key stat: Only 1 point in 10 games in November
Guillaume says: His offensive production has slowed down, but Canada is packed with defencemen that can attack.
Previous ranking: 6
6. P.K. Subban

Key stat: 3 more points for a total of 20 this season, the 2nd highest amongst NHL defencemen.
Guillaume says: His defensive game has become more stable in the past few weeks.
Previous ranking: 7
7. Jay Bouwmeester

Key stat: Picked up 2 more assists
Guillaume says: His +11 rating puts him in 2nd place amongst the Canadian defencemen in the NHL.
Previous ranking: 5
8. Brent Seabrook

Key stat: With his 2 assists last Thursday, he is easily sailing toward a collection of 50 points
Guillaume says: His 58 hits are hard to beat for all the serious candidates to a Sochi spot.
Previous ranking: 9
9. Kristopher Letang

Key stat: 5 consecutive games without points for one of the best offensive defencemen within the league
Guillaume says: According to Dan Bylsma, the 9 games he missed were tough to get through.
Previous ranking: 10
10. Dan Boyle

Key stat: Held pointless in 2 games
Guillaume says: His offence has slowed down after an encouraging initial comeback.
Previous ranking: 8

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