At this time, only three players — Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Alex Pietrangelo — have been confirmed to Team Canada's men's hockey roster for the Beijing Olympics. However, it seems several big-name candidates are in the running to make the trip overseas as one of Canada's backstops in Beijing.
Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues), MacKenzie Blackwood (New Jersey Devils), Marc-Andre Fleury (Chicago Blackhawks), Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers), Darcy Kuemper (Colorado Avalanche) and Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) reportedly have all been included on Canada's long list of goalies ahead of the Games, according to hockey insider Pierre LeBrun.
For men's hockey, National Olympic Committees typically are only allowed to submit a long list of 55 players to their initial roster — 50 skaters and five goalies. Canada, though, was given an exemption for Price, who voluntarily entered the NHL's player assistance program earlier this month.
Price underwent knee surgery in July after the Canadiens' loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. His initial 10-12 week recovery time had him on pace to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 NHL season, but his decision to enter the player assistance program has made him unavailable. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin revealed his team will be without Price for a minimum of 30 days.
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If the former Olympic gold medalist is unable to compete in Beijing, the five other names on Hockey Canada's long list are more than capable of holding down the fort.
Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is coming off perhaps his best season in the NHL. The 36-year-old posted a 26-10-0 record last season with a stellar 1.98 goals against average and .928 save percentage for the Vegas Golden Knights. However, his start to the 2021-22 season hasn't been as productive. Fleury was unceremoniously traded to the Blackhawks during the offseason and has lost each of his first three starts with his new squad, sporting an abysmal 5.63 GAA and .840 save percentage.
Binnington, who helped lead the Blues to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2019, is another viable candidate for Team Canada. While he has struggled to live up to the lofty expectations he set for himself after his phenomenal rookie season in 2018-19, he's remained a productive goalie for St. Louis — particularly to start off the 2021-22 season. He's won each of his first three starts on the year with a 2.67 GAA and .921 save percentage.
Flyers netminder Hart is coming off a disastrous season as the team's primary backstop. After leading the Flyers to their first playoff series victory in a decade in 2019-20, he was statistically one of the NHL's worst goalies last season with a 3.67 GAA and .877 save percentage. However, he's looked strong in the early going of the 2021-22 season, and a bounce-back campaign could earn him a trip to China.
Blackwood's situation is interesting. At the start of the NHL season, Blackwood was one of just four players who had not received the COVID-19 vaccine. If he does not get vaccinated before the Olympics, he will be unable to compete. The 24-year-old appeared in 35 games for the Devils last season, posting a 3.04 GAA and .902 save percentage.
Finally, there's Kuemper. The 31-year-old was one of the few bright spots for a dreadful Arizona Coyotes team last season. This season, though, Kuemper is in a much better situation serving as the primary goaltender for the Avalanche. His start to the 2021-22 season has been unremarkable, but he still has fairly good odds of carving out a roster spot on Team Canada once the Avalanche find their rhythm.
Canada's full 25-player roster is expected to be revealed in January.