Five members of the 2013-14 Avalanche squad received an invitation to their country’s Olympic camp earlier today. Matt Duchene will be the sole representative for the Avs at the Team Canada camp, joining 24 other highly skilled forwards. I hate to be writing this but Duchene’s chances to have a spot on a Center position seem slim, with the likes of Crosby, Stamkos, Bergeron and Tavares being almost locks in my opinion for the team. Barring injury to one of those star players, Duchene does not have it easy to make the team and will have to work extra hard to convince coaches Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff and Claude Julien to keep him on the team.
Both Paul Statsny and Erik Johnson will be at Team USA’s camp, both of which I could see making the team, should the long awaited resurrection and breakout seasons for both respectively finally come around. Both Statsny and Johnson were on the 2010 Olympic team and would bring experience and veteran leadership to Team USA.
Semyon Varlamov, also a 2010 returnee, should only have to beat Sergei Bobrovsky for the starting job for Russia. Nabokov might make the team as a third string goaltender and I haven’t much heard of the other two, Vasiliy Koshechkin, currently playing for Severstal Cherepovets and Konstantin Barulin, who is coming off a strong season (by the numbers, .940 save %, 1.95 GAA and a 23-11-9 record) with Ak Bars Kazan .
And finally, Gabe Landeskog received an invite to Team Sweden, which I would put as a lock on a team I believe will almost certainly win a medal. (Random fact: I had no idea Douglas Murray was Swedish, still surprised for some reason.)
Who do you guys think will make their teams? Will Canada repeat as Gold Medal champions and if not, who do you think will take the prize at the Sochi games?