Marc Methot's Olympic Competition

Sale on tight pants?! Better tell Kassian! - Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Hockey Canada announced their list of invitees to orientation camp for the 2014 Olympic Games and in a somewhat surprising move, Senators defenseman Marc Methot was named to the list. The 2012-13 season was a successful one for Methot; a trade to his hometown Senators allowed him to both play with defending Norris-trophy winner Erik Karlsson and to anchor Ottawa's blue line when his partner went down with a devastating injury. Ottawa's surprise run to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs no doubt helped raise Methot's profile with the Hockey Canada brass.


Marc Methot

#3 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators

6-3

231

Jun 21, 1985

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P +/- PIM S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 47 2 9 11 2 31 53 3.8 22:13 51.6 0.944 -4.8

As it stands, Wade Redden (Turin 2006) and Dany Heatley (Turin 2006, Vancouver 2010) are the only Senators to play for Canada at the Winter Olympics when the NHL participates. While Methot is still considered a long shot to make the team that goes to Russia next winter, it's at least worth a look to see who he's up against.

The Competition


Karl Alzner

#27 / Defenseman / Washington Capitals

6-3

213

Sep 24, 1988

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 48 1 4 5 14 -6 39 2.6 20:57 46.1 0.479 0.8

Alzner's 2012-2013 season started slowly, but his game picked up towards the end of the season, especially the playoffs. Japers' Rink reports:

Like many of his teammates, Alzner rebounded from a rough start to the season (more on that in a minute) to salvage a pretty decent campaign. He blocked a lot of shots (somewhat contrary to orders, and in part because the Caps struggled with puck possession) and continued to defend effectively and cleanly - Alzner was one of 15 NHL defensemen this season to play more than 1000 minutes and rack up fewer than 15 penalty minutes.

And while it's a far-too-small-for-our-liking sample, Alzner was superb in the playoffs (as noted above), shutting down Ranger big guns, excelling on the penalty kill and helping to tilt the ice at five-on-five - his individual Shots-, Fenwick- and Corsi-For percentages all led the entire team.


Jay Bouwmeester

#19 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues

6-4

212

Sep 27, 1983

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: Turin 2006; reserve Vancouver 2010


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 47 7 15 22 22 -6 79 8.9 24:38 41.6 1.655 -7.0

Once the golden boy of Hockey Canada, Bouwmeester's stock began to fall with his move to Calgary. He was coveted at the trade deadline and made waves with his trade to St. Louis (this feels a bit like a Ron Swanson compliment):

the Calgary Flames traded Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues for Mike Cundari, Reto Berra and a first-round draft pick in 2013.

For the Blues, it's a chance that GM Doug Armstrong couldn't pass up. Armstrong has wanted a left-handed defenseman to go along with Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk all season, and he called Bouwmeester an "elite player" that he's "coveted for awhile."


Dan Boyle

#22 / Defenseman / San Jose Sharks

5-11

190

Jul 12, 1976

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: reserve Turin 2006; Vancouver 2010


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 46 7 13 20 27 3 97 7.2 22:47 51.4 -0.111 15.0

An Olympic veteran, Boyle's age is Team Canada's biggest concerned. How did Boyle look in the lockout-shortened season? Here's Fear the Fin's take:

Strangely enough, the season in which Douglas Murray was dealt at the trade deadline and Brent Burns was converted to forward was also the year Todd McLellan opted to begin slowly easing 36-year-old Dan Boyle off the heavy, difficult minutes he had logged the two seasons prior. Both overall and at even-strength specifically, Boyle played fewer minutes per game in 2013 than he ever had previously in his Sharks career and did so against a lesser caliber of opposing forwards as well. The good news is that Boyle killed in the minutes he did play, leading the blueline in scoring and on-ice shot differential and helping elevate the unheralded Matt Irwin into resembling a capable top-four defenseman.


Mike Green

#52 / Defenseman / Washington Capitals

6-1

207

Oct 12, 1985

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 35 12 14 26 20 -3 96 12.5 24:51 46.7 0.232 -3.2

Frequently injured during the past few seasons, Green had something of a return to form 2012-2013. Here's the take from Japers' Rink:

After several disappointing seasons, Mike Green spent most of the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign looking more like the Mike Green of 2009-10, putting up big points at both even strength and on the power play. The 12 goals he scored this year were one more than his total from the last two seasons combined, despite playing in half as many games, and his 26 points were still the fourth-highest point total of his career. They also made up almost a third of the entire points production by the Caps' blue line, which combined for 91 points this season.

Four of Green's 12 goals and 14 of his 26 points were produced on the power play, each of which was good enough for fifth-most among all NHL defensemen (as was his 4:02 of ice time with the extra man) - all while playing in anywhere from 7 to 13 fewer games than anyone above him in those categories. And yet he was actually more productive at even-strength this year, scoring two-thirds of his goals at even-strength, his highest production at five-on-five (relative to his total) of his career just a season after scoring all three of his goals on the power play. And while some may accuse certain people of growing fat on Southeast Division production, Green actually put up fewer points-per-game against division rivals, with 8 points in 14 games (0.57 pts/gm) compared to the 7 in 9 games vs. the Atlantic (0.78 pts/gm) and 11 in 12 games against the Northeast (0.92 pts/gm).

Green racked up a goals-per-60 at even strength of 0.72, his highest ever (including his 31-goal campaign back in 2008-09), but like the team as a whole he was able to reach that point in part thanks to a red-hot second half.


Drew Doughty

#8 / Defenseman / Los Angeles Kings

6-0

212

Dec 08, 1989

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: Vancouver 2010


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 48 6 16 22 36 4 114 5.3 26:23 54.9 0.946 3.5

Doughty was a somewhat surprising pick in 2010, given his tender age of 20. Since then, he's signed a big contract and won the Stanley Cup. How did Doughty fair with all the injuries to the Kings blue line in 2012-2013?

Though he hasn’t replicated his offensive production from 2009-10, his decrease in scoring can be written off as a byproduct of the advancements in his all-around game that came into light when Darryl Sutter took over as Los Angeles’ head coach. The strides that Doughty has made in his own end were illustrated during last season’s Stanley Cup run and sustained for most of the 2012-13 season, though there were occasional hiccups that are fully understandable when analyzing the overall development of a defenseman who will not turn 24 until midway through 2013-14.


Dan Hamhuis

#2 / Defenseman / Vancouver Canucks

6-1

209

Dec 13, 1982

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 47 4 20 24 12 9 61 6.6 23:23 49.7 0.819 6.6

What are Hamhuis' chances of making the Olympic team? Here's Pass it to Bulis' take:

Dan Hamhuis has a tougher row to hoe to make Team Canada, as Canada’s defensive depth is impressive. Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, and Shea Weber are sure things and Brent Seabrook, Alex Pietrangelo, and PK Subban are likely as well. That leaves just a couple depth spots available, with some very good defencemen competing for them.

The main thing in Hamhuis’s favour is that he’s a left-handed shot, with many of Canada’s top defencemen being right-handed shots. He’s also one of the steadiest defenders in the league, which may give him a leg-up in comparison with some of the riskier choices. Add in his strong performance at the 2013 World Championships and his 24 points in 47 games last season, tied for 10th among Canadian defencemen, and it’s clear why he got the invitation and why he has a strong chance of representing Canada in Sochi.


Travis Hamonic

#3 / Defenseman / New York Islanders

6-1

206

Aug 16, 1990

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 48 3 7 10 28 -8 83 3.6 22:48 45.9 0.991 -11.4

For many, Hamonic was a surprise inclusion to the orientation camp list; however, he's quietly been making a name for himself on Long Island. His game is still developing, as Eyes on Isles points out:

Travis Hamonic had a ‘strong’ year, all things considered, but his stat sheet doesn’t show his worth to the team. Hammer played with lots of courage and heart (he played hurt early on in the season, by the way) perhaps not with as much astuteness as he would like (remember those own-goal deflections mid-season? Remember his miscues in the playoffs?), but that has everything to do with a player who either does too much too fast, or one who approaches the sport wearing his heart on his sleeve, so that when having a bad game, is the first to come down harsh upon himself.


Duncan Keith

#2 / Defenseman / Chicago Blackhawks

6-1

200

Jul 16, 1983

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: Vancouver 2010


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 47 3 24 27 31 16 91 3.3 24:06 54.5 0.379 -5.6

Last time, Keith won the Stanley Cup after winning Olympic gold; has he just changed the order for 2013-2014? Here's a look at Keith's 2012-2013 season from Madhouse Enforcer:

If asked which Hawks player had the second-most power play points during the regular season, a normal fan would toss out answers like Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. The reality though is that it was actually Keith, with two goals and eight assists on the man-advantage this year.

Keith also played 2:16 of ice time per game short-handed during the season, good for third on the team among defensemen. In that role, he helped the Hawks to have one of the best penalty killing units in the league.

Finally, Keith’s offensive numbers were right in line with what he has been able to produce during his career in Chicago. He only had three goals, but he did add in 24 assists in 47 games, good for the 4th-most points on the roster behind Patrick Kane, Toews, and Hossa. He was also a plus-16 in +/-, tops on the team.

These numbers all tell the same story about Keith: he is a gifted two-way defenseman who, in more limited time on the ice because of both the effectiveness of his teammates and a conscious decision by head coach Joel Quenneville to keep his top blue liner fresh, is still able to produce at similar levels to his career performance. That is great news for the Hawks, and was great news for Keith in 2013.


Kris Letang

#58 / Defenseman / Pittsburgh Penguins

6-0

201

Apr 24, 1987

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 35 5 33 38 8 16 95 5.3 25:38 48.3 0.696 16.2

An offensively-gifted defenseman with question marks about his play in his own end, Letang had a breakout season of sorts, finishing as a nominee for the Norris trophy. Here's take Keystone Puck Heads' on Letang:

Letang’s regular season earned him his first Norris Trophy nomination as the league’s best defenseman. He had a Corsi rating of 9.20, leading all Penguin defensemen in that regard. He earned a reputation as a hot-head who couldn’t keep his composure, but he ended the regular with only 8 PIMs from 4 minor penalties and no majors or misconducts. He’s made a name for himself in the offensive zone, leading all NHL defenseman with 38 points (tied with Norris Trophy-winner PK Subban). However, his play in his own end is where Letang gets the most criticism. He was on the ice for 26 even strength goals against, giving him a team-worst even strength goals-against/60 minutes rating of 2.47 (PK Subban and Ryan Suter’s same stat was 1.66 and 2.07, respectively).

In the playoffs, Letang had 16 points in 15 games, tying him for the team-lead with Evgeni Malkin. Defensively, this was not a banner playoff year for Letang. He was on the ice for 16 even strength goals against, by far the worst on the team. His GA On/60 was 3.36, third-worse on the team behind Simon Despres (3.65) and Deryk Engelland (4.10). However, it wasn’t all negative for Letang. He was third among Penguin defensemen in PK time with 2:25 minutes per game and was on the ice for only 2 PP goals against. He was also a huge minute-cruncher, playing 27:37 minutes/game, a minute more than fellow defenseman Paul Martin.


Dion Phaneuf

#3 / Defenseman / Toronto Maple Leafs

6-3

214

Apr 10, 1985

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 48 9 19 28 65 -4 88 10.2 25:10 41.3 2.144 -7.3

Phaneuf is always on the receiving end of criticism; his high profile in Toronto doesn't help. Here's Maple Leafs Hot Stove's take:

While he was shutting down some of the best players in the world from the onset, Phaneuf’s regular season got off to a slow start; he recored just one point in 11 games but continuously got better offensively as the season wore on. Phaneuf started the season saddled with first-year NHL players who lack the ability to play the game at his level, to put it mildly. Kostka and Holzer bring simple games and were playing at an elevated level due to their mid-season form, having already played over half a season in the AHL. Gunnarsson meanwhile was playing injured. The Leafs need to get deeper at defence and find a player of a similar calibre to play alongside Dion. It’s as plain as day to see. It drastically affected his season and his offensive output continues to be hindered because of it. Gunnarsson is fine, but he wouldn’t be a #2 defenseman on many teams in the league. He’s solidly #2 on the Leafs.

From the blowout win over Montreal onwards, Phaneuf posted a remarkable 27 points in 37 games en route to the Leafs first playoff berth in 9 years.


Alex Pietrangelo

#27 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues

6-3

201

Jan 18, 1990

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 47 5 19 24 10 0 93 5.4 25:06 50.3 1.525 1.1

Pietrangelo has been garnering Norris-attention the past two seasons. Here's Jeff Gordon view of Pietrangelo:

Alex played Norris Trophy-caliber hockey two years ago and could be a Top 5 NHL defenseman for many years. He is Armstrong’s No. 1 asset, so Doug is not bluffing when he promises to match any offer sheet.


Brent Seabrook

#7 / Defenseman / Chicago Blackhawks

6-3

221

Apr 20, 1985

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: Vancouver 2010


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 47 8 12 20 23 12 65 12.3 21:59 55.8 -0.271 -5.2

An Olympic veteran, here's what Second City Hockey thought of his season:

Seabrook had a roller coaster of a season but in his typical fashion pulled out huge plays when needed and played a major role, on and off the ice, in the Blackhawks acquiring their second Stanley Cup in four years. He had a sluggish regular season and didn’t look nearly as ready to play as some others after the lockout was finally over.

Coach Q ended up separating Seabrook from his long time defensive partner, Duncan Keith in late March and paired Seabs with Nick Leddy. Seabs and Dunc would not be reunited until May during the playoffs in the Detroit series. Coach Q showed his displeasure with Seabs’ lack luster play at the start of that series and cut Seab’s ice time, a lot. Seabrook averaged 21:59 during the regular season, but was on the ice for only 17:07 and 12:03 in games 3 and 4 of the Detroit series. At first trying to say it was a strategy for line match-ups, Q eventually admitted it was basically a time out for Seabs and said decisions were "usually" performance based. After their reunion Seabs seemed to get recharged in Game 5.

Overall Seabrook didn't deliver the constant performance defensively or offensively we would expect, however, true to form he was there when the Blackhawks needed him the most, with big plays and excellent moral support and guidance.


Marc Staal

#18 / Defenseman / New York Rangers

6-4

208

Jan 13, 1987

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 21 2 9 11 14 4 20 10.0 24:27 58.0 0.329 -4.4

The career-threatening eye injury Staal suffered in 2013 remains the biggest roadblock to his inclusion on the team. Here's Blueshirt Banter's take on which Rangers defenders Team Canada should have invited:

Will Staal make the team? Maybe. I think a lot of it depends on his eye injury and how quickly he's healed. We're not sure where Staal is at in the healing process or where he expects to be and when, but for right now I think the assumption is he's going to be able to start the season healthy for the Rangers. We haven't heard anything either way, though, so you never know.

Rick Nash and Marc Staal were invited to the Canadian Olympic Orientation camps. A surprising omission? Dan Girardi. It's obvious that Nash was going to get an invite, and a healthy Staal makes a ton of sense to shore up Canada's blue line but I'm surprised Girardi didn't get a tryout.

Why should Girardi get a tryout? He's an animal, can soak up big minutes, add a little bit of offense and do whatever they need of him. He could play big minutes for Canada or maybe even a third pairing role. They could do a lot of things with him, but they didn't invite him for this conversation is moot.


P.K. Subban

#76 / Defenseman / Montreal Canadiens

6-0

216

May 13, 1989

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 42 11 27 38 57 12 126 8.7 23:14 53.6 0.026 13.7

Subban had a breakout season in 2012-2013, winning the Norris trophy for his efforts. Eyes on the Prize summed it up:

P.K. Subban began the season missing a few games due his contract negotiations lasting into the season, and ended it by winning the Norris Trophy for the NHL's outstanding defenseman. No big deal.


Marc-Edouard Vlasic

#44 / Defenseman / San Jose Sharks

6-1

205

Mar 30, 1987

Shoots: L

Olympic Experience: None


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 48 3 4 7 29 7 59 5.1 20:49 46.2 0.790 6.50

What does Vlasic offer? Here's Fear the Fin's take:

Stylistically, Vlasic has long been labeled "Nicklas Lidstrom without the offense" which is a daunting and rather unfair comparison for any player to live up to but there were some really positive signs on that front this season.

Among defensemen who appeared in at least 35 games this year, began more than 50% of their 5v5 shifts in the defensive zone and faced an above-average quality of competition (0.5 Corsi Rel QoC or greater), only Zdeno Chara, Kris Letang, Johnny Boychuk and Dan Hamhuis finished with higher on-ice shot differentials than Vlasic. That's elite company (apart from Boychuk, who played about half his minutes with Chara) and it's even more impressive because Vlasic was separated from Dan Boyle this season and spent most of the year carrying around inferior partners in Brad Stuart and Justin Braun.


Shea Weber

#6 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-4

233

Aug 14, 1985

Shoots: R

Olympic Experience: Vancouver 2010


SEASON GP G A P PIM +/- S S% TOI/G Off Zone Start% Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel
2012-2013 48 9 19 28 48 -2 124 7.3 25:55 42.6 1.372 -2.1

Shea Weber had a lot to prove going into the lockout-shortened season: he had signed a massive long-term contract in the off-season and his long-time partner, Ryan Suter, had left for greener pastures during free agency. On the Forecheck breaks it down:

This was an odd year for Weber, who had to make the difficult adjustment to a new defense partner after riding herd with Ryan Suter for several years. There's good reason to hope in years to come that Weber/Josi can be as dynamic as Weber/Suter were, but the transition period unsurprisingly involved a few bumps. Instead of serving as a Corsi dynamo for the Predators (four straight seasons of a positive Corsi Rel), Weber was slightly underwater this year.

After a slow start, the scoring came with regularity, and by the end of the season Weber led the Predators in scoring with 28 points in 48 games. On a team which had difficulty scoring even when fully healthy, the captain led the offensive charge in both 5-on-5 and on the power play, where he put shots on net consistently and drew a significant number of penalties from opponents, while taking relatively few of his own. The one downside was the penalty kill, which gave up goals almost twice as often as when guys like Kevin Klein or Hal Gill were out there. That may have been in no small part to the presence of Josi on the other side, who struggled on the PK.

Conclusion

Keith, Doughty, and Weber are all locks to make this team. This group has little in the way of Olympic experience and these guys have gone before. Seabrook and Pietrangelo are as good as sure things. Probably one of Letang or Subban will be chosen. That leaves Methot in a tough spot. He might have to make due with the honour of being invited to the camp.

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