Regardless of national affiliation, management teams preparing for the 2014 Sochi Olympics have publicly stated that a majority of their roster will be determined in the first three months of the NHL season. With that in mind, the panel at TSN has already projected what Hockey Canada's lineup will look like after two ball hockey scrimmages in August.
The projection was generated via the collective opinion of Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, James Duthie, Pierre LeBrun and Ray Ferraro. Here's what they came up with, via TSN:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby* - Steven Stamkos
Eric Staal* - Jonathan Toews* - Rick Nash*
Logan Couture - John Tavares - Claude Giroux
Patrick Sharp - Ryan Getzlaf* - Jeff Carter
Patrice Bergeron* - Martin St. Louis
*-denotes member of 2010 Olympic team
Coming into the 2014 games, Hockey Canada has expressed that the roster for Sochi might be different from the gold-medal winning team of 2010. This projection remains consistent with that line of thinking as only 11 players remain from the Vancouver squad (it's important to note that teams were only eligible to carry 23 players in Vancouver but will be allowed to bring 25 to Sochi).
Ultimately, a lot can change between now and December. Some players will get hot, others will get injured and some will play their way out of a roster spot. As we saw in 2010, a player's performance leading up to the games will weigh heavily in whether they are chosen for the team and the same will hold true for 2014.
Regardless, Hockey Canada is going to have a world-class collection of players wearing their jersey come February. While concerns might persist about the hazards of bigger ice, the potential of (whoever ends up on) this squad is promising.