Claude Giroux, James Neal at top of list for Team Canada injury replacements

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Who will replace Steve Stamkos if he can't play for Team Canada in the Olympics?

Team Canada still doesn't know if it is going to have the services of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steve Stamkos for the Olympic hockey tournament next month, as he recovers from a leg injury he suffered earlier this season.

So who is at the top of the list to replace him if he can't go?

According to TSN's Darren Dreger on Insider Trading on Tuesday night, names like Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh Penguins winger James Neal seem to be the leading candidates because they would offer the type of goal-scoring, sniper presence in the lineup that Canada would be losing if it did not have Stamkos.

Both Neal and Giroux were surprising omissions on the initial roster, especially as they have been some of the most productive players in the league over the past few years. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, only one Canada-born player (John Tavares) has more points than Giroux's 188, while Neal is fourth on the list in goal-scoring behind only Stamkos, Tavares, and Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry.

In 32 games this season Neal has 17 goals to go with 22 assists, while Giroux has been on a roll after a slow start that saw him go the first 15 games without scoring a goal. He's now up to 15 goals and 32 assists in 53 games.

Stamkos has been out of the Tampa Bay lineup since November when he fractured his tibia. He has been skating and hopes to make a return to the lineup before the Olympic break. He also said that it is possible that he could represent Team Canada even if he doesn't get an NHL game in before the tournament begins.

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