Olympic power rankings of 30 Canadian NHL skaters: Week 4
Can the Sharks' Patrick Marleau find his way onto Team Canada?
In Week 4 of our Olympic hockey power rankings, Guillaume Lefrançois of Radio-Canada breaks down the performances of his top 30 Canadian skaters. Each week, Lefrançois and Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports also debate one player in greater detail.
This week's player on the bubble: Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks.
Guillaume Lefrançois: After tallying five points in seven games for Team Canada in Vancouver, Patrick Marleau deserves a look from Team Canada.
His 14 points in 12 outings so far this season are quite impressive. But so were his 14 points in the first six games of last season. This means he was limited to 17 points in the final 42 games. His challenge will be to find some sort of rhythm and avoid those 5-game point droughts.
A slump during a seven-game tournament can be pretty lethal.
Tim Wharnsby: Only Steve Stamkos (193) and Alex Ovechkin (162) have scored more goals than Marleau’s 136 in the past four-plus seasons. He also has scored the fifth most power-play goals at 43 during this same span. Because of his nose for the net, I could see a spot for him on the 25-player Canadian roster.
He may be a healthy scratch, but if Canada runs into some goal-scoring troubles, he could find his way into the lineup.
Lefrançois: One might also wonder if there’s actually room for him. With youngsters like Stamkos, John Tavares and Logan Couture likely to make the team, some veterans will be ousted. Sure, Marleau’s chemistry with Couture wouldn’t hurt his chances. However, with Canada’s depth at center, I don’t see how Couture will play his natural position. Is chemistry still a factor with a different centreman dishing the puck?
For all those reasons, I’m afraid Marleau won’t make the cut. Which would be good news for the Sharks, who could use a refreshed Marleau down the stretch.
Wharnsby: With Marleau, my concern was that his game slipped as the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament evolved in Vancouver. But after criticism earlier in his career that he didn’t perform in the Stanley Cup playoffs, he has been much better since the last Olympics with 20 goals and 34 points in 48 post-season games.
|1. Sidney Crosby
Key Stat: A quiet week for Crosby with 1 point in 3 games
Guillaume says: Right now, Crosby leads all NHL forwards in ice time (22:51).
Previous ranking: 1
|2. Steven Stamkos
Key stat: 7 points this week, 4 of which came against Chicago
Guillaume says: Can change the course of a game on his own, just like he did this week.
Previous ranking: 2
|3. Jonathan Toews
Key stat: 2 goals and 2 assists in 3 games
Guillaume says: Captain Serious has come out of his offensive lethargy.
Previous ranking: 3
|↑||4. Shea Weber
Key stat: Played 31 min on Thursday
Guillaume says: He keeps on doing double-duty in the midst of younger defencemen whose average age is 24.
Previous ranking: 6
|5. John Tavares
Key stat: 10-game point streak
Guillaume says: The hockey world can't wait to see him in action with Thomas Vanek.
Previous ranking: 5
|↑||6. Corey Perry
Key stat: 2 goals in 4 games
Guillaume says: Has made sure that the Ducks continue their trajectory with a winning goal at the end of Sunday's game.
Previous ranking: 7
|↓||7. P.K. Subban
Key stat: 1 point in his 4 last games
Guillaume says: Even if his production is down, he still impresses opponents with his fancy moves and fakes.
Previous ranking: 4
|↑||8. Duncan Keith
Key stat: A week of ups and downs: a couple -2 games, and a +3 game
Guillaume says: The Blackhawks give up more goals than last year and is impacts his stats.
Previous ranking: 11
|↑||9. Patrice Bergeron
Key stat: No points in 3 games
Guillaume says: It's still very difficult for his opponents to score against his line.
Previous ranking: 14
|↑||10. Drew Doughty
Key stat: A +4 game on Thursday to make up for the -4 of last week
Guillaume says: He is the pillar of a team with big aspirations this season.
Previous ranking: 15
|↓||11. Ryan Getzlaf
Key stat: 3 points in his last 2 games
Guillaume says: Has come back strong after a painful game in Montreal last Thursday.
Previous ranking: 8
|↑||12. Matt Duchene
Key stat: 4 points and 11 shots in his last 2 games
Guillaume says: He started where he left off last season.
Previous ranking: 13
|↓||13. Eric Staal
Key stat: -3 in 2 games
Guillaume says: The loss of Cam Ward won'thelp him improve his -7 statistic this season.
Previous ranking: 9
|↑||14. Alex Pietrangelo
Key stat: Has yet to end a game on the minus side all season
Guillaume says: One of the reasons the Canadian defence is congested on the right side.
Previous ranking: 19
|↓||15. Brent Seabrook
Key stat: Just like his partner Keith, a week of ups and downs: -2, +4, -2
Guillaume says: He's going to have a much bigger role than what he had at the Vancouver Games.
Previous ranking: 12
|↑||16. Claude Giroux
Key stat: Has at least 1 point in 4 out of the 5 previous games
Guillaume says: Has the Pride of Hearst found his rhythm?
Previous ranking: 21
|↓||17. Logan Couture
Key stat: 2 goals on Saturday, including a lucky one, thanks to the puck's strange bounce off the glass
Guillaume says: Usually, lucky bounces favour those who are prepared.
Previous ranking: 10
|18. Marc-Édouard Vlasic
Key stat: Leads his team with 24 blocked shoots
Guillaume says: His increased offensive capabilities don't stop him from remaining a reliable defenceman.
Previous ranking: 18
|↑||19. Martin St. Louis
Key stat: 3 goals in 3 games
Guillaume says: He plays for more than 20 minutes per game despite being 38. Will he be able to keep this pace up?
Previous ranking: 20
|↑||20. Kris Letang
Key stat: Back from injury, played 25 min in each of his first 2 games
Guillaume says: He now has to prove that he deserves a place amongst the 8 best defencemen in the country.
Previous ranking: 30
|↑||21. Jason Spezza
Key stat: 2 goals vs Mike Babcock and the Red Wings last Wednesday
Guillaume says: A nice way to mark his first game against Alfredsson since taking over the "C"
Previous ranking: 25
|22. Joe Thornton
Key stat: Only 1 goal in 12 games, but a ton of assists
Guillaume says: He's flanked by two green recruits: Tomas Hertl and Freddie Hamilton.
Previous ranking: 22
|↑||23. Mike Green
Key stat: -2 despite 2 wins in the 3 Capitals games
Guillaume says: Still looking for his first goal this season
Previous ranking: 28
|↑||24. Joffrey Lupul
Key stat: Played only once in the past week because of a foot injury
Guillaume says: He missed 48 games during the past 2 seasons. His health is going to be key this season..
Previous ranking: 26
|↑||25. Mike Richards
Key stat: 2 short-handed points this week
Guillaume says: Richards is always so versatile.
Previous ranking: N/A
|↓||26. Jordan Eberle
Key stat: No points and -6 in his last 3 games
Guillaume says: A week to forget for the young Oilers star.
Previous ranking: 24
|↑||27. Milan Lucic
Key stat: 3 goals and 2 assists in 3 games this past week
Guillaume says: He's going to have to stand out as an offensive threat, since his physical play doesn't carry the same value in international hockey.
Previous ranking: N/A
|↑||28. Jay Bouwmeester
Key stat: A great week vs the Predators: 2 assists and +3
Guillaume says: Will there be a place for him?
Previous ranking: 29
|↓||29. Taylor Hall
Key stat: Hasn't played this week because of a knee injury
Guillaume says: More fear than pain for the 21-year-old player. We will see him back in November.
Previous ranking: 16
|↓||30. Rick Nash
Key stat: Hasn't played this week because of a concussion
Guillaume says: Still waiting for news on his health.
Previous ranking: 23