Everyone seems to think Tavares is a lock. I don't think so.
Everyone seems to think Tavares is a “lock” for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics.
I don't think so.
Consider the following assumptions, all of which are reasonable and logical:
- Crosby has the 1st-line centre job locked-up.
- Team Canada tends to place a premium on experience and proven track-records. This is especially true for someone like Steve Yzerman, whose Stanley Cups and Gold Medals has no doubt taught him that past successes help prime you for present successes.
- Based on that last assumption, one must think that a player like Getzlaf (2010 Gold Medallist and 2007 Stanley Cup winner) has the inside track for the 2nd-line centre job. And Getzlaf isn't merely riding on past accomplishments, either. He is a very good player right now in 2013. He is in the same tier as Tavares. His past successful performances gives him the edge over Tavares.
- Tavares lacks experience playing as a wing, and his style of game isn't ideally suited to play the wing. So a spot on the wing on a scoring line (either line 1 or line 2) seems to not make much sense. Players like Stamkos, Giroux, Staal, Nash, and Perry (all of whom either have past wing experience and/or have styles of play that translate well to playing the wing) seem to be the front-runners for wing positions on the scoring lines.
- Tavares isn't particularly strong defensively. So a spot on a checking line (either line 3 or line 4) seems to be out of the question. Toews and Bergeron seem to be the locks to centre line 3 and line 4. And Tavares, based on both the previous assumption and based on his lack of defensive strength, doesn't have any place as a winger on either of these lines.
Based on all of this, it seems that his only real hope is being chosen as the 13th forward, as a PP specialist or something along those lines. The rumour that the Olympics might expand the roster limit to 25 players (as opposed to the usual 23 players) obviously would increase his chances, as this would mean that 14 forwards are taken. I think he only becomes a “lock” in the scenario where 14 forwards are taken. Any less than 14 forwards, he is definitely on the bubble and probably is less than 50% likely.
It seems like he is going to be the next Jason Spezza as it relates to Team Canada. Elite offensive skills, but not quite versatile enough to be chosen.
Tavares is strong on his skates and goes into the dirty areas better than anyone in the league today. He may not be experienced on the wing but his game would transition easily to the Right Wing which is where he sets up on the PP. In fact many Islander fans felt he might be better suited for the wing early in his career. You put him on the RW on the 2nd line with Giroux centering him and i wouldn't be surprised if he led the Bronze Medal winning Canadians in goals.
You are crazy if you think Toews won't be at centre.
Top forward at the last Olympics. Conn Smythe winner. No weakness in any part of his game.
I think Toews plays wing, my guess is i would love to see him on Sids wing, he would be a perfect fit. toews is very versatile and in case the centreman gets waived out, how many teams can have Toews as the second option to take the draw?