Even though Luongo spent most of the 2012-13 season as Cory Schneider‘s backup , his inclusion on the roster did not come as much of a surprise. He is the incumbent starter for Team Canada, has a wealth of experience on international ice, and remains Canada’s best bet.
This past season, Luongo performed quite well in place of Schneider in Game 1 and 2 of the team’s quarterfinal playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. Schneider was forced to sit out due to a groin injury and Luongo proved he still was a big game goaltender—granted the team in front of him could provide some timely scoring.
Left-handed defencemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger from the 2010 team have both retired from hockey and will need to be replaced on the team. The top defencemen in Canada are mostly right-handed, so Hamhuis’s naming might come as a surprise, but maybe not so much.
Here are the top-10 left-handed Canadian defenceman by ice-time:
- Brian Campbell, Florida, 26:25
- Dion Phaneuf, Toronto, 25:10
- Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary/St. Louis, 24:27
- Marc Staal, NY Rangers, 24:27
- Duncan Keith, Chicago, 24:06
- Andrew MacDonald, NY Islanders, 23:31
- Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim, 23:27
- Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver, 23:23
- Michael Del Zotto, NY Rangers, 23:10
- Mark Giordano, Calgary, 23:09
However, Team Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman says he is not trying to built an all-star team, but a well-balanced team.
“We’re not putting together a team for an NHL all-star game, we’re putting together the best possible team we can to compete against the best players in the world and try and win a gold medal,” Yzerman told CBC News. “Part of that comes with having players that can do specific things for us.”
A balance of left-handed and right-handed defenceman and to pair an offensive-oriented one with a defensive one would be ideal. It is the approach Yzerman aimed for when assembling the 2010 team when the pairings were Niedermayer and Weber, Keith and Doughty, and Pronger and Dan Boyle.
Yzerman might have interest in Hamhuis as a stabilizing defensive presence with one of the high octane offensive defenceman like Subban.