Milan Lucic, Andy McDonald, Dan Cleary and Stephane Robidas were among the surprise names on the list of 46 players invited to the Canadian Olympic hockey team’s summer orientation camp Thursday.
Compared to stars like Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur, they may be longshots to make the team that will play at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. But executive director Steve Yzerman and his management team wanted a diverse group at the Aug. 24-27 camp in Calgary rather than a collection of all-stars.
Yzerman said players not invited to the camp still have a shot at making the squad if they stand out in the first half of next season, but in the past, players who didn’t attend the camp have never been selected for the team.
The final 23-man roster for the Feb. 12-28 Games will be announced at the end of December.
Here’s a look at the players invited to camp and how we see their chances of making the team:
G Martin Brodeur – Still considered the best despite an arm injury last season and a playoff blip.
G Roberto Luongo – Ever in Brodeur’s shadow but still a top goalie.
D Scott Niedermayer – Still a slick skater, he signed a new contract, so he’s ready to play
D Chris Pronger – Rangy and tough, and even more valuable as the Olympics will be played on the smaller NHL ice surface.
F Sidney Crosby – Now with a Stanley Cup, he’ll be the star of the show in Vancouver.
F Jarome Iginla – Big, physical wingers who get 90-plus points can make any team.
D Shea Weber – Nice blend of size and skill.
D Jay Bouwmeester – Rangy, quick and just starting to be dominant.
F Vincent Lecavalier – Has all the skill, but health is a question.
F Martin St-Louis – Followed a big season with a bigger world championship.
F Ryan Getzlaf – Big, physical centre had great playoffs.
F Corey Perry – Getzlaf teammate plays hard and well.
F Rick Nash – Big natural winger with a scoring touch
On the bubble
G Marc-Andre Fleury – Yzerman was wowed by his playoff performance.
G Cam Ward – Strong playoffs, played for Canada at 2008 world championships.
D Mike Green – Great skating and scoring, questionable defence.
D Dan Boyle – Nice skater and deft point man.
D Robyn Regehr – Olympic veteran, few are stronger in the defensive zone
D Francois Beauchemin – Big, physical and has some skill.
D Duncan Keith – Fine two-way play.
D Brent Seabrook – Opened many eyes during the playoffs.
D Dion Phaneuf – Big shot, good size, but coming off a sub-par season.
D Brent Burns – Yzerman says injuries last season won’t be held against him.
F Jeff Carter – A top scorer.
F Simon Gagne – Olympic veteran, fine two-way winger, but has had health issues.
F Dany Heatley – Big, scoring winger embroiled in controversy for asking out of Ottawa.
F Brendan Morrow – Skilled, physical leader missed most of last season with knee injury.
F Jonathan Toews – Young Blackhawks captain combines skills and smarts.
F Shane Doan – Strong, experienced two-way winger.
F Mike Richards – Physical centre who scores and plays strong defence.
F Joe Thornton – Top playmaking centre gets blame for his teams’ playoff failures.
F Joe Sakic – Aging, world-class centre still to decide whether to keep playing.
F Eric Staal – Big centre becomes more of a force each season.
F Ryan Smyth – No longer young, but big, hard-working winger is a fixture on national teams.
G Steve Mason – Coming off a great rookie season, but will need to keep playing up to that level next season.
D Drew Doughty – Rising talent, also had a terrific rookie campaign, but with so many veterans ahead of him, might have to wait his turn.
D Dan Hamhuis – Hidden gem in Nashville, but probably not yet ready to overtake the top veterans.
D Stephane Robidas – Quietly efficient, but a level below the best.
D Marc Staal – Already Rangers’ best rearguard, but is still developing.
F Patrick Marleau – Steady centre with skill, perhaps a victim of a glut of top Canadian centremen.
F Derek Roy – Fast, with soft hands, a little on the small side.
F Patrick Sharp – Dangerous scoring winger, he still has an outside chance if the goals keep coming.
F Jordan Staal – Big and strong, scored important goals in playoffs, but hasn’t quite the hands of those ahead of him.
F Dan Cleary – Can play all three forward positions, kills penalties, scores timely goals, loved by his coaches, but not a top talent.
F Milan Lucic – Big and scary tough, likes to go to the net, but is very young and still growing as a power forward.
F Andy McDonald – Quick and can score, but is up against bigger wingers and bigger names.