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6 most interesting players from Team Canada’s 2018 Olympic men’s hockey roster

Even without the NHL, there are still a number of familiar faces on Team Canada’s Olympic roster.

Kontinental Hockey League - Amur Khabarovsk v HC Kunlun Red Star Photo by VCG via Getty Images

Team Canada’s roster is here for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and you’d be forgiven for failing to recognize a number of players on the roster. Chay Genoway? Brandon Kozun? Marc-Andre Gragnani? These are far from the big names that populated these teams when the NHL was involved in the festivities.

However, a tournament without the world’s best league doesn’t mean everyone came out of nowhere. Twenty-three of the 25 players named to Canada’s roster have NHL experience. Many were first-round draft picks, and several even went on to be productive in the league before falling out in recent years.

So while we won’t be treated to the likes of Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and P.K. Subban in Pyeongchang, there will be a lot of names that are familiar to North American fans rooting from home. Here are the six most interesting names for NHL fans on Canada’s roster.

Derek Roy

No player on Team Canada had a better NHL peak than Roy. The 34-year-old hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2014-15 season, but during his best years with the Sabres, he had four straight 60-point seasons and made back-to-back appearances in the conference finals. For the 2007-08 season, he finished 18th in the league with 81 points in 78 games.

Roy obviously isn’t the same player anymore, but Canada could still use him. He’s bounced around in the NLA, KHL, and, most recently, SHL since the end of his time in North America. This season, he has eight goals and 16 assists in 29 games for Linkoping HC.

Wojtek Wolski

There was a time when Wolski was one of the better young wingers in the NHL. By age 23, he had recorded four straight seasons with at least 42 points, including a breakout 2009-10 season where he racked up 65 points in 80 games. His future in the league seemed bright.

But he found himself out of the NHL just a few years later and has played in the KHL since 2013. Other than a scary neck injury in 2016 that left him in intensive care, his time in Russia has gone pretty well with 138 points in 179 games.

Linden Vey

The main reason we’re pointing out Vey, a former member of the Canucks and Kings, is that he’s been amazing in the KHL this season. He’s currently third in the league in points with 52 in 49 games. The only players ahead of him are Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev, two of the most talented scorers in the world not currently in the NHL.

Vey is just 26 years old, and he’s playing the best hockey of his life in Russia right now. If he can translate that onto the ice in Pyeongchang, it could be the kind of performance that springboards him toward another NHL opportunity.

Rene Bourque

Being a member of last year’s disastrous Avalanche team didn’t stop Canada from bringing in the veteran forward. Bourque, 36, may not be the same player who posted back-to-back 27-goal NHL seasons in his late 20s, but he’s still been productive in Sweden with 21 points in 31 games this season.

The forward brings size (6’2, 216 pounds) and some finishing ability to a roster that might have a tough time racking up tons of goals. Over the course of his 12-year NHL career, he averaged 18 goals per 82 games.

Mason Raymond

Another NHL player as recently as last season, Raymond headed to Switzerland in 2017 after failing to receive another opportunity. In his prime, he was a solid middle-six winger who recorded seven straight 10-goal seasons, including a career-year of 25 goals and 53 points with the Canucks in 2009-10.

Raymond signed with the Ducks last year, but his contract was terminated in November after he refused to report to the team’s AHL affiliate. He later told Sportsnet he made that choice to spend more time with his wife, who had been diagnosed with Lyme disease.

The forward has 13 goals and 12 assists in 25 games for SC Bern in the top Swiss league this season.

Ben Scrivens

There’s one obvious reason to know Scrivens: He’s the only player in NHL history to record 59 or more saves in a shutout. His incredible 59-of-59 effort in an Oilers win over the Sharks on Jan. 30, 2014, stands out as one of the greatest individual performances by a goalie in NHL regular season history.

So we know that Scrivens can get hot, and for Team Canada, it’s surely hoping he’ll find that groove right as the action begins in Pyeongchang. Riding a hot goalie may be the best chance for any team beyond Olympic Athletes from Russia to bring home the gold medal.

Scrivens has spent the past year-plus in the KHL. He’s posted a .917 save percentage in 35 games with Salavat Yulaev Ufa this season.